Thursday, May 17, 2007

A word about 75,000 words

Yesterday I reached a critical point in the writing of my first work of nonfiction, the one about my coming to live in America, and have been toying with the idea of publishing an excerpt on the blog.

Anyway, I reached a critical point yesterday and passed the 75,000 word mark. I don't exactly know why 75,000 thousand words is so important, but suspect it's because it would be a pleasingly thick book, a book with heft, if it were to be published tomorrow--the sort of heft that asserts 'I have 270 ragged-edged pages inside for you to feel and I am well worth the $24.95 you'll fork out for me in hardcover.' ($24.95 is a sort of median price for hardcovers here in the US.)

I also know the ending now--the final scene ran in my head yesterday like the speeding ticker tape at the ABC TV studios in Times Square--and the manuscript will come in at around 80,000 words in its rough form.

Of course, word content doth not a quality book make. I know that. That takes good writing and an interesting story, which requires a great deal of drafting and redrafting until one is sick of the manuscript so one doesn't ever want to see the manuscript again, hates and loves and hates and loves the manuscript, sometimes wants to hurl it into a blazing fire because it makes one think one is a shite writer. Oh, and a great book requires a great editor.

But, to get to the love-hate-love stage I must have words, at least 75,000 words. Because then I know I have written a book and I can slash and add and edit with impunity. I can because I do not have to fear facing a blank screen page that cries to be filled. I need to have that knowledge. It's my security blanket.

Now to think up an interesting title because I don't think America and Me cuts it for me any longer.


Martha O'Connor said...

Congratulations, Damian! That's quite a milestone. :) :) :) And I, for one, would love to read excerpts on this blog. xx

Damian McNicholl said...

Thanks, Martha.

And I, for one, can't wait to read your new novel also ;)