[30 Questions for Writers] It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night…

Life has this way of getting to you. For me, the end of the semester consumes most of my time (in my non-writing life, I work in academia) and therefore, I disappear. But commencement is over, the first rush of summer paperwork is complete, and I have exactly one day to relax before my summer classes start.

Long story short: I have written some, edited some, #pitmad-ed semi-successfully and now can rearrange my schedule to work for me. I have a series to finish this coming month (and book two in a trilogy to finally get down), a series to plan, and more edits on The Final Rose.

But first, to keep my moment up… (and give you far too much to read):

30 Questions for Writers

(tagged by erin)

Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

My favorite writing project/universe would have to be the one I am editing, The Final Rose. There was something when I was writing that just felt right. All of these ideas rush to me, connecting subplots and creating symbolism and twists that I didn’t have on my original outline.

Even now, re-reading it, I think there’s a lot of depth to that story and universe. There is another series set in the universe which I will be working on by the end of the year.

How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females?

For a fantasy writer, I actually keep somewhat small casts. I do have some novels that are more sprawling with split parties and adventures in different places, but most of the time, I try to keep it to a handful of major/main (5 or so) and then just a few important minor characters.

I don’t prefer either, but I know I seem to write more male main characters in my fantasy stories and more female main characters in my non-fantasy stories. I have no idea why.

How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

Well, with the fantasies, I usually go to generators until I see something I can play with. A few times the names have just come to me (Wenna from Bottle of Sunset or Task Tannes from The Final Rose). Places are much of the same.

There was one novel when I was much younger (at least 13 years ago) when I would smash the keyboard and go with whatever was there.

Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

My first story? “The Friendly Ghost” when I was seven. I don’t think that counts…

My first completed novel was Sub Rosa. A fantasy (surprise) that followed a female main character who was an assassin with a very stylish elf partner. They were tricked into helping the Big Bad resurrect himself, which turns into a whole quest.

The female character was Rosalin, the orphaned daughter of (what turned out to be) quite famous parents. The elf was Ardre, who was a variation of elf that had him unaccepted by both wood and water alike. The two misfits did well together.

By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about “youngest” and “oldest” in terms of when you created them?

If we’re just counting characters under this pen name, my youngest character is either Fyran or Cecily from my novella duology, Midsummer’s Reflection and Midwinter’s Choice. They’re both sixteen and at the cusp of becoming themselves.

My oldest is Ikala from The Final Rose. She may appear young but her true age is part of the story.

My “youngest” would be the idea I just came up with last night (because why turn the brain off). The main characters have yet to be named but they are a set of quadruplet princes.

My “oldest”… That has to be Aralyn, the Roc-riding character in my high school short stories. Long red hair, penchant for wearing yellow, loved birds. I haven’t written anything with her in a very long time.

Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol’ pen and paper?

My preference is on my laptop, early morning, with warm coffee by my side. But it isn’t often that things go to preference when there is a young child and a full-time job.

So I usually either write at night (anytime after 9pm is late) or fountain pen and paper on the train during the commute.

Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

I am big on listening to video game remixes while I write because there are no words to distract me and I can hum along without thinking about it. OCRemix is my go-to.

Sometimes I will hear a song and relate it to my characters but it isn’t too often.

What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

To Write: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about.

To Read: Fantasy, horror, thriller, usually all adult with some YA sprinkled about. Also non-fiction about historical figures, science, or the writing process.

How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

Well, I come up with my story ideas a little strangely (I go Title -> Plot -> Characters) so usually, once I have the first two, I think of what type of character would serve well in that plot. Once I start thinking about that, usually something comes to mind: gender, some description, personality, etc.

Occasionally, I’ll get the idea for a character first, mostly the problem they need to solve. Then it is fleshing them out, seeing the plot around their problem, and eventually building the novel around them.

What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

Weird situations…

Well, in Bottle of Sunset, the explorers are mucking around in the swamps, trying to call on pixies. It’s not so successful…

In the sequel, Shard of Sea, they get captured by desert-dwelling elves. Everything is just not where it’s meant to be.

Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

With this pen name, my favorite character is Jene from the aforementioned seven book series, hands down. He is a cranky old bastard which I can relate to.

Least favorite character would be Ziove from The Final Rose. I’m never truly in her point-of-view so it’s hard to relay some of the things she’s going to do or things she’s thinking via her body language and cryptic dialogue. It’s the reason that the edits for The Final Rose are taking so long!

In what story did you feel you did the best job of world building? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

The story with the best world-building is definitely the universe of Terrosya where The Final Rose and the seven book series is located. I have maps. I have magic systems. I have political intrigue.

What’s your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

The Oriadians from Terrosya. They’re musically-inclined people who have a city full of spectres and hauntings which are just normal for them. They’re the most urban of my many settings in Terrosya which makes for a much more fun atmosphere.

How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

Inkarnate is my go-to tool. Sometimes I just draw maps out and save them for later. Here’s one of the land of Adomar (which isn’t going to be quite the best map).

Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

Brandon Sanderson. I want his output, his affability and his book deals.

Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you willing to go in your writing?

I think most novels I’ve written have some form of romance, either in the forefront or as an established relationship. For example, the romance of Task and Ziove is the driving force for some of The Final Rose. Counter to that, the already-set marriage of Ceack and Val in Obscura is just a part of their character.

I don’t think that full-out sex scenes are appropriate for most of my novels, but I’m not afraid to go there if the story calls for it.

Favorite protagonist and why!

Wenna from Bottle of Sunset (and the rest of that unnamed trilogy). She’s a strong character who just has one thing after another shatter the illusion of knowledge she has. By the time the third book comes, she’s going to be almost completely different.

Favorite antagonist and why!

Airaethon Ardhor from Obscura (and the rest of the Mist Trilogy). He’s very serpent-like in his actions and causes a lot of behind the scenes chaos before he’s revealed.

Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

Actually, this is from what I’m writing now, but Wilford Garnot from The Lies of Jade and Ivory. He was meant to just be the roommate of the main character but now he’s become integral to the plot.

What are your favorite character interactions to write?

Arguments. In my first drafts, I’ll let them play out longer than they should so I can explore the emotions and true feelings of the character. Once I go back for edits, I can streamline it and bring in more characterization.

Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

In my fantasy novels right now, no. Under a different pen name, I have a few characters with children. Getting the right age-appropriate reactions and development takes some research, but no one has pointed out that I’m so far off with the ages just yet.

Tell us about one scene between your characters that you’ve never written or told anyone about before!

I had to think about this one for awhile. I reveal a lot of things to my beta readers and critique partners. But though this scene is referenced in the novel, the original scene where Geir lets Task go in The Final Rose has never been written. It’s too far in the past to be relevant in the current novel, but serves as an important reference.

How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story—from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

I am (and I’m not sure if I like the term) a “fast drafter.” When I have the time and motivation, I can write a significant number of words a day and my typing speed is relatively fast.

I usually can deal with planning and plotting in a month or so, unless it is a challenge novel (which I have a few from WriYe). I like to have a basic stats sheet with a small synopsis. A title is a must. And at least my main character, a minor character and the antagonist (whether corporeal or non-). Some world-building is necessary but I let a good amount develop as I write the first draft. I just make note of it in a notebook.

Then writing can take anywhere from a month to three. It depends on the challenge, the ease of writing (my thrillers are far easier for me to write than fantasies), and the POV. I can write first faster but I like deep third more.

How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most interesting way you’ve killed someone?

Oh yes. Many characters have died. And many more will yet.

I won’t say what novel, but I do have a character who is eaten by a sightless, underground wyrm.

Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

One of my characters (in a series I am developing) has a pet griffin who acts like a cat. His name is Griff. They pretend he is a cat.

Let’s talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

I have zero artistic ability. I suppose others could draw them if anything was published – either self or trade – or shared on the internet, but it is not. Yet.

Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

The only time I bring in appearances is when I am introducing a fantasy creature. Or if the physical feature has some significance to the plot or is symbolic in a way.

Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

I have. One of the characters in The Final Rose is revealed to be an addict (which I suppose is a stretch for this question). One character will be crippled by the removal of part of his body.

In other novels, I have had characters with limbs missing, characters with fractured personalities, and one with PTSD (in a sense). I tend to be very careful when writing these sorts of things since I do not have firsthand experience and I don’t want to offend by getting it wrong.

How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

All the time? Okay, that’s not truthful. A lot of the time I think about writing. Outside of my digital world, there are instances where I may be reminded of my writing (especially when I have students who act like some of my less mature characters) but that’s rare.

Final question! Tag someone! (And the part I missed: And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his characters! )

Paging Liz. Liz, to your blog please.

edit: So I somehow copied this question down wrong. Because that’s my life. So! What I admire about Liz:

  1. She has NEVER stopped trying to perfect her writing and her novel. I have been around with her with MoD since…almost day 1, I want to say. And she has been so dedicated about getting it done, getting it edited, and perfecting her craft to make it perfect.
  2. She’s always willing to try something new, even waking up at 4:30 am ;).
  3. She has thick skin. Thicker than mine by far! She never lets things stop her completely. And I won’t let her so… Tough. You’re stuck, Liz.

[#reviseandrevive] Baby, Now We’ve Got Bad Blood

The WIPWednesday progress for today involves drama. All good stories have drama of some sort, and it’s that tension that keeps a reader flipping pages. In The Final Rose,
I have a few dramatic scenes that I got excited while writing and am equally excited to rewrite.

So here’s a glimpse of what happens when Task and crew get to their destination, the Floating Islands, to give tribute to the gods… [First Draft Warning Alert]

Something red and glowing smacked into his face, nearly forcing itself down his throat. He grabbed at it, catching it between two fingers before it floated off in the winds. It was a petal – a rose petal – and one that had once sat on Ziove’s chest, proudly displayed like a battle scar.


Something was very wrong.


He shoved the petal into his pocket and pushed forward faster, making them keep up with him. She had to be there, standing just out of reach. She had to be near them, frozen in the wind the same way he had been at first.

Maybe the gods protected her. Maybe the gods were keeping her out of it and giving them a way out – death or run.

[#reviseandrevive] I’m a Lover and I’m a Sinner

A brief introduction to Task Tannes, the MC of my novel. Task is a thief who is cocky, self-assured and selfish. These are scenes from the first chapter (draft two, so pre-revision). Just a small excerpt:


[…] Anyone that came into White Nymph Tavern before noon was bound to be lost to the cups or the cards. Task just happened to be an expert at both, as well as the most ancient art in the entire town of Thornin: pickpocketing. […]

He counted out the coin in his hand, adding the fee to the barkeep that he’d already removed. He’d stolen quite a bit of money that morning, but what was the use? It had practically fallen out of the man’s pocket and there was no true deception. A stuttering fool was easily mimicked. He wanted to strive for something higher. To achieve something unachievable.


He was going to steal from the king himself.


[#editnfriends] It’s Getting Larger!

I have this habit, whenever I write a novel, of glossing over some details. Sometimes it’s most details, most times it’s some details. Whether it’s because of my rush to finish or my jumping from scene to scene nature, it’s not the worst problem a novel could have.

As I mentioned before, what I write the most when I edit is expand. Because scenes need to be expanded to make things make sense. Why am I mentioning a scene in dialogue that never happened? Especially scenes that are interesting, probably more so than the simple line given by a character about said missing scene.

An example of this would be a meeting between the party – sans Ziove – which should have occurred right before they left for their adventure. It would have set up fantastic examples of interpersonal relationships and strife between the four, showing characteristics that I can build upon later.

But what did I do? Referenced it in narrative the next chapter.

That doesn’t mean that I haven’t cut some scenes. A few in beginning chapters are just a bit extraneous. It was me writing the characters, getting control of their voices without pushing forward plot. By the middle of the novel, I know their voices. I don’t need these scenes any longer.

Editing, for me, is to specifically pinpoint these scenes and axe them. So remove them, I will.

Editing Update:

Chapter: 14/24

Pen refills: 1

Scenes sliced: 5

Darlings killed: 3

Tears: 0

Current Concern: The pacing of the journey. How fast should they find the roses?


I Choose You!

I have, in my Google Docs right now, about one dozen finished first drafts. They’re not edited. Certainly not publishable. But they have a beginning, an illusion of a middle, and an end. Draft one done.

So every March, when that old edit bug comes a-bitin’, it’s time for me to look in that folder and choose a file. All the file names look up at me, sometimes with fancy title graphics, like flowers waiting to be plucked and made into a bouquet.

That is, at times, the hardest decision to make. Especially being an unpublished author with no deadlines or platform to my name yet. The page is blank and I have a 96 pack of Crayolas to color with, but which color goes down first?

This past year, with #Pub2020, I’ve been able to choose based on what novel I think is most sellable. The Final Rose is a stand-alone fantasy. It’s got compelling characters that go through some shit. It’s got a fun plot. Perfect for a debut.

But other years? It comes down to few things:

Reading the first chapter and going, “Can I handle this much right now?”

Are there more plot issues than I can remember? How was the technical part of the writing? Is the genre something I want to work in at the moment?

If any of those are a “no,” it’s onto the next.

Is this a series?

What book is it in the series? Beginning, middle, end? Do I remember what happened in the last book? Does this involve an extensive reread of the previous books? Where’s my damn series bible?

Is this something I plan to publish?

This is usually the very last question. I eventually want to edit and revise all of my novels. Even those than only friends will see.

But if I’m going to take this whole “published author” thing seriously, I really need to make sure I focus and perfect those things that agents and editors will buy.

How long ago did I write it?

Six months, at least, or bust! It is very rare of me to even look at something I wrote so soon after I write it. I’m trying to adjust and reduce time between but I have a backlog to work on.

If it’s a short story, it’s a different beast. I used to participate in a competition on WriYe that involved writing a short story a week. My goal was always to write the story Sunday – Tuesday, then ignore it until Friday for edits. It wasn’t my ideal amount of time apart, but it was enough.

So what about you, readers? What’s your criteria for the time you decide a story should be edited? Do you keep a schedule that you plan in advance or is it what feels good at that moment?

Editing Update:

Chapter: 13/24

Pen refills: 1

Scenes sliced: 5

Darlings killed: 3

Tears: 0

Current Concern: Task and Ziove need a lot more set up to fall in love. More scenes are needed in the first half with their relationship blossoming. Need to find a way to add them while adding to the plot.

[#editnfriends] Loves Long Past

On Monday, I metaphor-ed that the darlings I must murder are like a diseased appendix. And I have spent this week garbing up for surgery – scrubbing up, betadine, gloves – and preparing for the first incision.

Problem is, my novel really does need more added than taken away. Ninety-nine percent of what I’m jotting down is either:

  • Expand
  • Description?
  • Or How did you end it like this?

So there’s a lot to add. Which won’t help it’s already triple digit word count. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have some things to eliminate. And sometimes these are things that I really enjoy both reading and writing.

Here’s an example.

Task and Kyr, my MC and a supporting character, have a lovely banter back and forth during certain scenes. They look at the world, they comment, and they make it a game to see who is better at the snappy come backs. Who can annoy the knight the most? Let’s find out. It’s fun to read. They entertain me. I would think they’d entertain you.

But these scenes serve no purpose to the plot. Or to the story. It is just me flexing my authorial dialogue muscle. So out comes the red-inked scalpel which excises all of these words and moves them to the document labeled, “Nope.”

As for characters, my casts seem to be on the small side. Right now, I have:

Task – The protagonist (POV Character)

Geir – The Foil (POV Character)

Ziove – The love interest

Ikala and Kyr – Secondary but major characters

Haldor and the other (3) Mini Bosses – The antagonists

Sayine, Jules, Cidon, Adom and Kither – Minor secondary characters

King Kvets I – Very minor character

And that’s really about it. There might be a chance, when I get to later chapters, to meld a few things together. Some minor characters that I haven’t listed because they were maybe in one chapter might end up being axed. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, which might be a sign that they should be gone for being unmemorable.

I’ll keep you updated with my handy little section below to let you know if I murdered any characters by excising them from the novel. Every surgery gets a little bloody. Mine will be no different.

So, we’re nearly halfway through the month. Readers, how many darlings have you murdered so far? What are the words you’re writing in the margins the most?

Editing Update:

Chapter: 12/24 (50%)

Pen refills: 1

Scenes sliced: 3

Darlings killed: 3

Tears: 0

Current Concern: Pacing. The first plot twist is in chapter 14 of 24 and over halfway through the novel.

The pacing…


[#editnfriends] I Used to Love Her, But I Had to Kill Her…

“[K]ill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” – Stephen King

It sucks. You reread your novel, that took you months/years to write. You get to this line/scene/chapter/character you love and you still love it. It’s something you couldn’t have written this well if you tried… Except it doesn’t fit. It’s not progressing the plot. It serves no purpose. The character is melding with another.

So you have to do it. You have to take your Red Inked Vorpal Sword and slice it through. (Or, since we have computers, cut and paste it to a Darlings Document that you can visit to pay sympathies to. Like a little row of writing gravestones.)

And it hurts. Because that was a part of you, for a short amount of time. Not forever, not eternal, but your thoughts and hopes that you spat out on paper. That you may have perfected through drafts. And now you’ve determined that piece of you is no longer important.

Removed. Trashed.

But maybe instead of thinking of it like garbage words, let’s think of it as a vestigial organ. These darlings are our appendix (or multiple parts of one giant appendix). They served a purpose once: they helped us get our first draft down and explore our world. They were characters that brought out parts of our main characters to help us develop them more. They were words and phrases that we can look back on later and perhaps repurpose into something new – like an awesome experiment discovering penicillin from mold.

Two things could happen if we leave this appendix in. We (our novel) could survive. There’s a chance it’ll just look a little strange but it’s not going to do any harm. One or two bacteria may be trapped there (one or two things that could be cut) but they’re not causing destruction. Some people (betas) might comment on it, and some doctors (editors) may suggest just removing it during your next surgery (draft), but it’s not dire.

However, the problem arises when this appendix swells with inflammation and becomes this festering organ housing thousands of bacteria. It runs the risk of bursting and infecting your whole blood supply (your novel). To save it requires some major surgery. Sometimes it’s too far gone, unable to be saved.

So, what’s better? Leave in a darling appendix that may burst? Or take these problematic things, cut them, and create a graveyard where you can visit and leave flowers in thanks to darlings past?

Editing Update:

Chapter: 8/24

Pen refills: 0 (but getting there)

Scenes sliced: 3

Darlings killed: 1

Tears: 0

Current Concern: Halden’s entrance is so boring. The fight is interesting but the way he just appears needs an overhaul.


[#editnfriends] Danger Zone

That’s the nickname I’ve given my editing space at home. It’s really my everything space, since I have a one year old who destroys everything she touches. But for this month (and maybe-but-hopefully-not next month), the main use is editing.

I have most of my document in my Google Drive, which is where my crit group edits and chapter by chapter split is. I reread from there, and then printed chapters one by one. They are in this binder (This is fantasy so it better be thick!):

I’m using tab dividers for chapters because I have a few things I know I’m going to have to go back and forth to for reference. Did I foreshadow the even in chapter thirteen enough in chapter four? Did this character’s last name suddenly appear in chapter six but not chapter one? Things like that.

Most of my plot issues will be figured out in the binder with flags and Post-its and huge red letters asking what I was thinking.

As I block my scenes, I’m using these index cards:

They’re color coded by character POV or character arc, if the character is a non-POV character. This is my main party (note the RPG lingo) so I need to make sure their arcs are complete and sensible.

What I’m ignoring this go-round is any sort of line editing. Why fix words that might change? Or scenes that might get sliced?

The last piece of my editing go-to kit is The Book and The Pen:

(Classic moleskine)

Every critique I do goes in here, written with my no-name fountain pen. I leave my expensive ones to things that don’t make me angry enough to throw them.

Every editing thought. Every comment on a beta read. I have flags which color code based on the community the crit is for (RFIC, WriYe, etc) that I remove once the crit is typed up and delivered.

My own stuff is sprinkled throughout with much harsher words than I write for anyone else. Because who can I abuse best but me?

When I work, I either spread out on the ground (when kid is asleep) or spread out around me on the couch (when kid is occupied with something else). I work best in chaos. When the next post about my work editing space comes up, you’ll see.

Editing Update:

Chapter: 03/24

Pen refills: 0

Scenes sliced: 0.5

Darlings killed: 0

Tears: 0

Current Concern: To make Sayine family or keep her as friend

[#editnfriends] We’ve Only Just Begun…

Image courtesy of erin foster as posted on Words n’ Friends

And so it begins, the quest for a nicely polished manuscript. Truthfully, it began a few weeks ago when I decided to re-read The Final Rose with the hope that it made some logical sense. Sense is there, but so is a sped through middle. Alas, poor words, I meant to write thee.

The re-read is almost over with, thank the many gods. It’s hard for me to go back and look at what I had written because I am overcritical of myself. Common writer problem, I find, and one that we should all work on together. There’s good and bad in all of our writing and becoming self-aware of our strengths would do us good. It’ll make us better writers in the end.

Stepping off that soapbox, I will admit to doing something that goes completely against bettering myself as a writer. I had sent part of this tome of words (About seven chapters or so) to my loyal critique group. I read the critiques years ago and put them aside, never looking at them again.

Well, Saturday, I opened up what I thought was my clean version of chapter one. And it was not. It was covered in critique from erin foster. Critique that I did not want to see at that moment. What could I have done? Closed the damn tab. What did I do? I read it.

And, ladies and gentleman, I have finally seen the light. Nothing in that critique hurt. Everything made sense. (Granted, this was on the second draft so it better have been good.) I think I have discovered the right distance from this novel to start working on it. To mentally acknowledge that these are just words and words can be rewritten.

So, if you are like me and pretend to be tough but have the weak skin of paper, give yourself a few days before reading that critique. Or read it, thank the critiquer (always! Even if you disagree with every letter on that page), and step back. Maybe not three years, like I have, but for a few days. A week. Maybe even a month.

When you look at it again with fresh eyes, remind yourself that the critique isn’t on you, your story (most of the time) or your personal family members (though they may feel that way). This is just letting you know that your words aren’t conveying what you want them to convey. The story isn’t shining through because it has the wrong clothing on.

Change the words, change the outfit.


It’s a Thousand Pages (give or take a few)…

Okay, not that long but today’s topic is about novel length, especially in my chosen genre of epic/high fantasy. But if I get the Beatles stuck in your head, I happily take the blame.

So, when I started writing novels (back in 2006), I really didn’t consider things such as word count. I was writing short stories mainly, usually by hand, so I worried more about pages than word count. And whether or not the story was complete, all plot points hit, and if my best friends liked it.

But in 2006, I was introduced to NaNoWriMo by a classmate. She was between majors and had decided that week she wanted to be an author. In early October she told me about NaNoWriMo, and wanted me to join her. Write a novel? Why not?

For those who don’t know about NaNoWriMo (if you exist), it is a challenge to write a novel in a month. And by a novel, they mean 50,000 words. I had no idea what that meant page-wise or paperback thickness-wise so I went with it.

And when I passed the 50k mark in my novel and wasn’t done yet, I panicked. What did I do wrong? Why was my novel not even halfway done and yet I had reached that limit? Everything seemed to be necessary and not extraneous but maybe I wasn’t sure how to read my own writing.

So I dropped that novel. And, when I decided to do more WriMo-related challenges, I actually did research.

Most of my favorite fantasy novels are well over 50k. Sanderson, Lynch, Martin… They write tomes that, when I read, feel as if they are as short as pamphlets. And most of those books are hundreds of thousands of words. So no, I did nothing wrong in my first NaNoWriMo (length-wise, anyway. Stylistic and technical? Eeeeh.).

Which, as I research publishing, leads to a fun little conundrum. Everything you read will tell you that you should submit a first (fantasy) novel that is no longer than 120k. Which is doable, but sometimes hard to adhere to in some of my stories.

The novel I am working on for publication – The Final Rose – is currently at 140k and only will get longer. I could easily see it going to 200k and beyond. Are the words going to be tight and necessary? To the best of my ability. Does that mean it is too long and out of luck? Maybe not. But that’s my problem to figure out. The best I can do is finish, edit, revise, perfect and write an awesome query to hook the right agent.

My other plan, if The Final Rose becomes that long, is to start submitting some of my short fiction to gain publication credits. I know that if the query hooks the agent and the writing is good enough for them to want to take a chance, the word count won’t matter as much. But I think having a few publishing credits under my belt will give them a bit more security in the fact that someone wants to read my writing.