And got the ending!

I had to ask myself one question to make it come clear for me.

“At what points does this story tie into the most important theme?”

I realized that it was when the heroine is in direct conflict with the villains, and that to end the story on the strongest possible note, there had to be scenes in the conclusion where she had to be alone with the villains, and forced to deal with them separately and together.

Once I understood what would make the theme come to life and be exciting, I suddenly had the scenes.

I’m excited. Book will come out at around 159,000 words if I write it as outlined.

If, as happens to me way often, I think up a bunch of cool, critical stuff that goes in between the planned scenes, it’ll run longer.

So I’m done for tonight.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

9 comments… add one
  • hollylisle May 20, 2009 @ 8:11

    Jessiegirl—

    The link to the Think Sideways login page is here:
    http://howtothinksideways.com/members/login.php?s=noauth

    Login, and you’ll find an Upgrade To Student link on the top left side of the page, under the header. Click that, and you’ll get the three current sign-up options.

    And the forum is here:
    http://howtothinksideways.com/forum/

    For folks just taking a peek, the actual forums are extensive now, but the majority are only available to students and grads.

  • hollylisle May 20, 2009 @ 8:06

    Leigh—

    I’m a little fuzzy on word length/page length. Does 300,000 words print out as approximately 700 pages?

    You’re fuzzy for a reason. Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, the longest single book I can think of at the moment, weighs in at 650,000 words and comes in at around 1100 pages. Books half that length ALSO come in at around that number of pages if the publisher decides a Big Fat Book will sell better than a skinny one, but can be squeezed into 400 or so pages if Skinny Book is the marketer’s catch phrase of the day.

    There is no approximate word count for a page of published text. Publishers (via book designers) can and do vary margin width, type size, line height, and other variables to get the most book onto the least paper, or to fill out a thin book with more pages to give it additional perceived value.

  • jessiegirl May 17, 2009 @ 18:15

    hi holly.

    i bought silver door, can’t wait to read it.

    i accidently deleted my link to the think sideways class, forums specifically. i went to the website (via your home page) where i have the option to buy the class, but no place to click to be transfered to the students site. I was a charter member, paid in full, but i can’t for the life of me find the email that had the link i need in it. maybe you can help?

    thanks.

  • Tyu May 15, 2009 @ 15:25

    Oh, almost forgot to say: I didn’t realize that The Silver Door had come out already. I was waiting for that one, realized when I went to Amazon to look for something else that it was recommending it for me. *purchased*

  • Tyu May 15, 2009 @ 15:22

    I always love to watch how someone creates, since I learn by watching and replicating methods. One reason why I took your course, as a matter of fact 😀

    I never really know how much to plan for a length though. I try and I always end up wrong because I keep adding things. When I wrote fanfiction years ago, my writing was very sparse on detail and my scenes/chapters were unbelievably short. A full story usually ended up maybe 10-20k words if that. So when I started more serious endeavors, I looked at all the ideas I had for this one story and said to myself “Well this can’t run any longer than 50k”.

    Ok, I learned how to add more sensory details, more action, more… well I learned how to actually write decently. The planned novel turned into a duology, with the 50k word count only encompassing half of the first book. Eesh.

  • Leigh May 15, 2009 @ 14:53

    I’m a little fuzzy on word length/page length. Does 300,000 words print out as approximately 700 pages? As I am unpublished, I am taking your advice and sticking to 100,000. But I think you have an underlying point that there should be as many or few words as are needed to tell the story. Anyway, congrats on getting the End – it is interesting to follow along on this journey.

  • hollylisle May 15, 2009 @ 10:27

    The book will grow. I’ve found in the past that if I plan out about half the scenes, the rest will make themselves known to be necessary as I’m writing, and I’ll have about the amount of book I need. On those occasions where I’ve actually figured out EACH scene in advance (Talyn, Hawkspar), I ended up writing/cutting/writing/cutting and even then, I came in long.

    So what I have right now is about 160K of planned material.

    Since I know me pretty well by now, and since I don’t actually want to finish up with 600,000 words of book, I figured I’d better quit while I was ahead.

    Good question.

  • Klharrds May 15, 2009 @ 3:35

    Hi Holly, great to hear you’ve got the ending.
    I just had one question if you’re able to answer. From your earlier post when the book was first being mooted you said it would be big, about 300,000. Now you think that it will be about 159,000. I was wondering whether this was a conscious choice to make the book smaller or just how the story/themes panned out and obviously you don’t want to pad a story just to reach a large word count target.
    I know from my own experience, when I plan a book, estimated scene length x number of scenes etc, I will aim for say a 120,000 estimated count. When I come to write the thing it tends to grow and grow on me and be double that count when/if I finish.
    You say in the post that things often grow in the writing for you, so do you deliberately plan a shorter novel at the outline stage because you know its going to grow?
    I have real trouble with editing because most of the time I just can’t face having to cut out 100,000 words to reach my initial goal count. Any advice you have would be great.

  • Soleil Noir May 14, 2009 @ 23:13

    Nice. Congrats Holly! Looking forward to hearing more on your progress with Dreaming the Dead.

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