I am less interested than once I was. I suspect this is because when I was beginning to write books, I was always looking for signs that I was on the right track. The more books I’ve written, the more confidence I have that the length of the book will be revealed by the story itself.
Thank you! Elsewhere is around 61,000 words, as I recall. I, too, used to be interested in the word counts of comparable books when I was starting to write novels.
Thank you! I don’t know that I have much advice beyond the usual: read a lot; write a lot, etc. The one other thing I might mention is that one should never be afraid NOT TO WRITE. Thinking — about books, about your goals for your writing, about the kind of story you’d like to tell and the way you’d like to tell it — is for me at least an important part of the process.
1) grab the orchids, 2) smile like the cheshire cat, 3) wear your pearls, 4) toss back your head, 5) don’t give a damn.
~ The Verbalist: A Manual Devoted to Brief Discussions of the Right and the Wrong Use of Words, by Alfred Ayres, 1919
This clears things up enormously.
Saturday Wisdom: My favorite writing quote is by Samuel Beckett though it is not technically a quote about writing.The quote is from a prose piece called Worstward Ho: “Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Rarely a day goes by when I have not thought of that quote upon sitting down at my desk to write.
Here, you’ll see my one eye voting. Or, at least, standing by a VOTE HERE sign and pretending to vote. No, of course I voted. I live in New York City’s awesome District 68 — holla atcha District 68! — which, according to my polling representative, includes mainly brownstones and other small buildings — which means voting only took about five minutes. If I lived in District 67 or 66, I’d still be waiting and not blogging inanely. Those District 66 & 67 suckas live in fancy high rises which means there are a lot more of them packed into a small area. Man, I am so glad I live in a lowly lowrise.
Look! My hair voted, too! (Okay, I was having technical problems taking pictures of myself AND the sign using my iPhone camera. This picture captures precisely neither.)
A boy passing by looked at the VOTE HERE/VOTE AQUI sign and said, “What’s aqui?” And I thought to myself, Open your eyes, Kid! Aqui is HERE! It’s here! It’s all freakin’ happening and you were here!
Just so there’s no question whether I’m a complete nerd or not, one of my very favorite television programs is American Masters on PBS. Mainly, I like it because it has to do with how it is hard (not like soldier hard or being born with a terrible disease hard, but hard nonetheless) to be an artist and all that self-indulgent hooey AKA the kind of hooey in which I very much like to indulge. Last night, there was a very good & inspirational one on Leonard Bernstein who would have been ninety years old this week. Among other things, the program talked about how it was hard for him to want to be alone & write when there were so many other interesting things to pursue like conducting & teaching & traveling & peacemaking & hosting fundraisers for the Black Panthers & having a most exhausting social life, etc., etc. This is something I relate to aside from the conducting, teaching, peacemaking, Black Panthers fundraising, & exhausting social life parts. So, Maestro, wherever you are, these last lines go out to you:
“It is enough, it is to be blessed enough, to live from day to day and to hear such music – not too much, or the soul could not sustain it – from time to time.”
from An Equal Music by Vikram Seth*
*An Equal Music is probably one of my favorite books published in the last ten years or so.
**The photograph is of young Leonard Bernstein, who was definitely hot. It’s one I took of my television as you can tell by the subtly embossed Thirteen logo…