Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's a story, not a book

I've stopped calling the story I'm working on a "novel" or "book". I realized during my pre-writing that I add too much pressure on my writing by getting caught up in word counts. I know that I need about 50,000 words before my story resembles a manuscript. However, what if my story isn't full enough to reach 50,000 words? Do I stop writing or cry or what?

The answer lies in the old adage that writers are people who must write or die.

If my only goal is to publish my book, then I believe I'm doing this for the wrong reason. I started writing so as to quiet the voices in my head: I tend to daydream stories when I'm doing menial tasks. I noticed a few years back that I tend to re-dream stories I enjoyed (and I even remember a few of them months down the road). After writing a gadawful amount of papers for my Masters in Teaching, I decided to write down those stories. Especially the ones that still swirl around in my head and talk to me.

When I focus too much on the end product and not enough on the now, then my priorities are all wrong.

I believe a true writer only concerns themselves with getting the story told: not length. One exception? No story needs 500,000 words. Seriously.


I think, at this stage of the game, my focus needs to center on story not numbers. Numbers are important - they keep track of progress and all, but the story will suffer if I pad or edit out for the sake of reaching some magic number. So I'm telling myself: focus on story not on "book".

It's not a book until it's published.
It's not a novel until it's published.
For now? It's a story that needs telling.