I started writing “The Raven and the Dancing Tiger” I thought it was a short story, that I would be able to finish for the short story assignment for the workshop I was taking. I tacked on an ending, knowing it wasn’t really the end. People told me it was a novel. I knew that while I could write a novel set in this world, but that this story wasn’t necessarily that long.
So I started thinking about the story, plotting it out. I was able to plot out what felt like about 20,000 words, and I figured that would be a good length, doable and fun.
Then I started writing.
My very wise friend Melissa and I were once talking about making the Hell-verse short stories into a novel. And I didn’t see how to do it. One of the things she mentioned was that I’d have to break it apart in order to make it longer.
I didn’t get what she meant at all. I couldn’t see how to do that in the Hell-verse. I still can’t.
Then I reached, for want of a better term, a break-out point while writing this story. It was like a tiny crevice in the world, and once I reached that, it cracked open and all these other things came spilling out.
At that point, I figured I was working on a 40,000 word story. Okay, a bit longer than I wanted, but the story will be the length the story will be.
Friday, I hit another one of those break-out points. Today, I figured out exactly what it meant.
One of the things I kept saying, why this couldn’t be a novel, was because there were no subplots.
Friday’s break-out point is really the subplot.
You should have heard the amount of swearing I did when that light dawned.
Now, the story feels about 70,000 words. Particularly if I delve into this sub-thingy and the ramifications of it. Because, yeah, it could be big. And not just this novel, others as well. (I am not going to do a series of novels all set in this world. I am not. La-la-la-la-la I can’t hear you, muse.)
Why am I bitching about this? I am going to take a short story workshop in June. I have ~7000 words finished on this piece. I do not have time to finish a 70,000 word novel between now and the time I go to the workshop, not and fix whatever is broken with Zydeco Queen and turn that around and get it to my editor on time, as well as taking time to read all the short stories we’ve been assigned for the class.
So basically, it’s 70,000 words in 4 weeks. If I was under contract, could I do it? Yes. I’d have to call into the day job sick for some of that time to manage it. But I could do it.
However, just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I want to, or that I should. If the story takes me by the throat and says, write me I will, which will mean more words per week. Right now I’m still feeling my way through it. If I get a clearer view, I can go faster.
Which also means accepting that it’s a novel, and doing the plotting I need to do for that.
So yeah, this is the unexpected novel. I had two completely different novels that I’d planned on writing this year. Guess I’m writing this one first.