100,000 words

May 27th, 2022Posted by Nancy

Somewhat to my own surprise, I’ve now passed 100,000 words on The Witch Novel. Some of them are even good words, I think.

This project had its beginnings in 2015, the year after COLD HILLSIDE was published. I’d gone back to some old, unfinished projects to see if anything might spark some inspiration. I made a few half-hearted attempts to begin something and then, in May, the British fantasy writer Tanith Lee died. I wrote an early blog post about how influential her work was on me, though that may not be entirely obvious in my published work. I can honestly say that reading THE BIRTHGRAVE changed my life.

One of the ideas I’d resurrected seemed particularly suited to Lee’s gorgeous, baroque prose, cool sensibility, and damaged characters. With the vague idea that perhaps I could submit to it any tribute collections that might be in the works, I wrote a short story and ran it past my writing group. They all assumed it was the beginning of a novel.

To my surprise, I didn’t hate the idea. I had originally thought it might be a novel so the short story version did feel a little … short.

So here I am, almost seven years later, 101,267 words into it. I’ve added POV characters and several tense changes. Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to write one of the characters in second person? Turns out, yes, indeed it is. Depending on what decisions I make about the plot (plot? what’s that?), I could – in theory – finish the first draft in the next year.

And then? Well, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll decide the damn thing is a novella after all.

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