Launching Romance into the stars.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Experiment

When I first started writing, I wrote romance novels. Great, big, fat romance novels. And they were wordy. I know that I’ve learned a lot by e-publishing, the biggest thing is how to tighten a manuscript. But with the good comes the bad. One thing I’ve noticed is that my stories have grown shorter and it’s almost impossible for me to go over fifty thousand words now.

I have this switch in my brain that says, done! There are a couple of reasons this has happened. The first is that my publishers wanted smaller stories, so I gave them what they wanted. The second is that by writing shorter stories, I have trained myself to write everything like a short.
This is a habit I need to break. Yes, it’s good that I know how to cram a lot into forty thousand words and make it work, but I need to work on pulling out of this to write a bigger novel. With ninety thousands words, I have a lot more detail I can expand on and I can only get there if I retrain the brain to embrace the detail. I can get into character backgrounds deeper, explore secondary plot threads fully, but the moment I start, that switch flicks and it says cut, cut, cut.

For the next six months, I’m getting back to my roots and writing a full novel. So far, it has not been easy. My brain wants to prioritize details so I can fit a smaller word count. If I’m going to break eighty thousand words, I need to break this habit. So, as I write this story, I’ll post updates on my progress.
See, I’ve noticed more and more people wanting longer stories. They love my shorts, but wish there was more of that world than I gave them. It’s a comment I hear often. I listen to my readers, everything they say, good and bad, and I won’t apologize for saying it is why I feel reviews are as much for the authors as they are for the readers. I’ve been called on that, and I’m still standing my ground. Reviews are helpful to the authors too.

I certainly can accommodate everything you're asking for, but I ask you to please be patient while I spin you a big ass story you can immerse yourself in. I’ve written one hundred and ten thousand word manuscripts before, but I’ve been writing novellas and small novels for seven years, and it’s a process of relearning how to expand.
This I will promise. It will have an unusual premise, that could happen, even on Earth. This will be an otherworld dystopian romance. You will see the same freaky world building you’ve told me you love in my stories. It will have high stakes (very high), and I’m packing on the sexual tension even though this will not be erotic romance. It will have sex scenes, but there will be less than in my erotic romances.

There will be some dark and scary stuff that happens. I’m taking my time building this relationship between my hero and heroine and it won’t be all fluffy bunnies and fuzzy kittens. As I said before, I’m an evil author and I’m putting them through their paces before I let them have that happily ever after. If you don’t finish reading it feeling a little bit freaked out about something happening on our world now, I won’t have done my job. My aim is to plant seeds of doubt and insecurity.
I have five thousand words and I’m off and running. A lofty goal to be sure, but I’m excited about this project. I’m in love with the premise and hell, I’m going to blow some things up. That in itself has me squealing.

Wish me luck.



Jessica E. Subject said...

Oh, I can't wait to read this one. I love your stuff whether short or long.

And I agree. I learn a lot from reader reviews, too. Not all, but the ones where the reader goes into detail as to what they liked and didn't like as constructive criticism. Then I take that information with me for the next story.

All the best, DL. Though I'm sure this story will rock!

Teresa Cypher said...

I do wish you much luck! I read this post with great interest. The first book I wrote was 130,000 words. Yikes! It was wordy. I was a novice, and had not grasped the concept of over-writing and just how annoying it can be. So much to learn. Recently a had a beta reader read Aaydan's Tale--and she actually said, "You need more details." Oy! Still, I search for that happy place somewhere in between ;-) I will be back to check on your progress. :-)

D L Jackson said...
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D L Jackson said...
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D L Jackson said...

Ack! The one thing I don't like about blogger is the inability to go back and edit comments once you post.

Thanks, Jessica snd Teresa.
It's a balancing act to be sure. I find there's a huge difference between writing novellas and shorts, and writing long novels. When you get in the habit of doing one, it's hard to get out of it to write the other. This is proving to be a challenge for me. I don't want to slow the story down, but I also need to expand with detail that I don't usually go into with novellas and shorts.I hear that those that write movie scripts also struggle with shifting to novels or novellas.
I've got one of those large beasts and it happens to be my first story. I've learned a lot from writing shorts. Now I just need to learn again what I can sacrifice and what I shouldn't.