Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Long is Too Long?

I spent some time last night counting the number of pages in my Hogwarts book. This may seem like a trivial task, but each chapter is in its own file and I have to open each one up separately and add the totals by hand. I’m currently on Chapter 20 out of an expected 30 chapter book and I wanted to get a feel for how things were progressing.

The result?

Just over 600 pages!

OMG!

Now, I admit this number is somewhat misleading. Although I’m officially only on Chapter 20, I’ve done quite a bit of rough writing on many of the subsequent chapters. (I tend to jump around a bit while writing.) And some of the earlier chapters have multiple versions of the same scene, much of which will be cut later. But still, at the current rate, this book is going to hit 900 pages if I don’t do some heavy trimming.

To think there was a time when I worried I wouldn’t be able to come up with 300 pages.

Anyway, I’m already thinking about which parts of the book to cut. I know many writers will say I should wait until I get to the end before I do this, but I’m just not built that way. I’m going to fret about this until I do something, so I might as well do some of it now. Besides, if I don’t, I just know I’ll subconsciously start to write the rest of the chapters as short as possible to compensate. And that’s no way to write a first draft.

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