Friday, August 13, 2010

10 Hours

I picked up Elementals. I read the whole thing in about 10 hours.

I was a bit annoyed.

Not with the story. With the story, I was pleased. It's been a year since I looked at it, and it's okay. I have some tense issues to work out, and some details to smooth, but for a first draft? Not too shabby.

No, I was disappointed with the amount of time it took me to read it.

I don't remember how long it took to write. I didn't have any huge events by which to mark the time as I did with Star of Justice. I'm thinking between two and three months. That's sporadic writing.
Heavens, when I think about how I labored over that story, it's a miracle it got written at all. I was more inclined to throw my mouse at the wall than tackle one more battle of wills with the Achnoi Queen. Sheer cussedness got me through it. That and a feeling Dyana would slap me if I didn't woman up and finish.

But 10 hours?

That's a pretty fast read. Right now, it's about 108,000 words. Simple words, too. No big plot complications. No mysteries. No in-depth character back story. No plans for other stories with these characters (although I might be able to squeeze one out if I had to). I don't even have a name for this planet.

But 10 hours?

I tried to keep it short. My goal was "fast and easy." I suppose I achieved it.

But 10 hours... It doesn't seem like much, does it? That's shorter than the LoTR extended trilogy. Way shorter if you watch the special edition items about fashion, horses and weapons like I do.

Maybe 10 hours is okay. I mean, that's a weekend book. A "start it in the reading room and take it with you into the living room" kind of book. A book that keeps you up to the wee hours on a work night because the chapters are so short you imagine you can afford to turn one more page.

That's the trick, after all. The page-turning. You want a reader to become absorbed in a story. That leads to word-of-mouth promotion and happy thoughts the next time she sees your name in a bookstore.

I expect this to publish before Star of Justice. I kind of hope it does. My greatest concern with my first book is that readers would expect me to always write books like it. Frankly, I don't know if I could.

But books like Elementals? Yeah, I have a few more of those up my keyboard.

Right now, I need to polish this rock and see just how shiny it will get.

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