The Home Stretch

Some of you have been following the little ‘progress’ bar on the side of my blog, and have noted that the rate of its movement has increased. That’s certainly true. I don’t know how universal this may be – I suspect it is pretty common – but the end of a book often comes faster for me than the beginning.

It’s kind of like when you’re reading a book. You read along, gradually getting pulled into the story, and if the book successfully pulls you in, by the time you near the climax, you find it harder and harder to put down. I feel that way sometimes when I write. There comes a point when I feel the momentum within the story grab a hold of me, and then I find I move along at a quicker and quicker pace.

To explain the percentage in that progress bar on the side of the page, I’ll say that my ‘guesstimate’ all along has been that this novel, at least in draft form, would run about 400 of my pages, or about 140,000 words. So, I’ve been using my page count to keep track of progress, adding a percentage point for every 4 of my pages that I write. At this point, I have 304, or about 76% in my method.

I’m actually further along in terms of word count, which is currently about 109K. Interestingly, as I move toward and through the climactic events in the book, my chapters are getting shorter – part of creating that faster pace I mentioned above. Things are happening rapidly, and slightly shorter chapters is one way to reinforce this and help the reader feel it. Since I have 10 chapters left in my outline, I suspect I might fall short of my 400 page estimate, and yet still end up at or above my word count estimate. I guess we’ll see.

7 thoughts on “The Home Stretch

  • Mr. Graham,

    I find that I actually am as steady as a fighter jet: I once wrote 10,000 words in about six days. That was supposed to be my 3rd chapter. (only supposed to be one chapter: now it’s 4!). And my last three chapters took my a week or two. Well, the very last one (only happy chapter of the book) took three weeks to write. Just can’t take a happy sort of long ending. Just, well, not having sword fights, traitors, archery, flames, forts, and so on, makes it a little harder for me.

    For you, I certainly hope you are increasing in speed, because I am hoping to read this book by the end of the year. Again, good job on keeping on plunging through the rough draft.

    About the page count vs word count, does that mean that there are longer paragraphs (more descriptions), or something else?

    Hopefully, there will be more to read for me. I love the action scenes (even though they are slightly unusual: In B.1, Chap 10: “Footsteps,” Black Wolves are being torn in half. Just an interesting thought. And then the decomposing Wolf earlier. I’ve been reading LotR recently, and actually, when the Fellowship fights the Wargs after crossing Caradhras, the Wargs dissapear after they die. It becomes dark (night) and in the morning, there is nothing there but ashes. Is it concidental in your books?


  • I wouldn’t count too heavily on reading anything I’m writing now this year. The publishing process, even when it goes well, takes time. Odds wouldn’t be good that a publisher would acquire a title this summer or later and put it out this year. So, patience will be required!

    As for the Black Wolves, no connection to the Wargs and any disappearance on their part is intended. The unique way Black Wolves’ remains disappear was invented to explain who they could live in Kirthanin and be, for many, almost mythic creatures. Ie, I needed a way to dispose of their remains…

  • Dear Mr. Graham,

    Gotcha! Slick. Really smart. I guess reading it in a year is a little much to ask. But you are moving along nicely. Will try to be patient.

    I’ve wanted to ask this question for a while, but only just now gotten around to it. I understand that the way you get paid for a book is: An upfront “advance” against your royalties, and then once the book has sold enough to have the royalties cover and go above that, you start getting paid. So do you have to have a regular job, or what? (I’m interested because I wonder if it would be possible to make a living as a writer).


  • I do have a ‘regular’ job, and most authors do. There are, of course, people who sell enough to make a living at writing, but that’s a small group. Think of it this way. A small percentage of all the people who write books get their books into print, and a small percentage of that group that gets into print become successful enough to earn a living that way.

    In short, if you’d like to pursue writing, then its good to think about careers that will accommodate that desire, because even if you one day become successful enough to earn a living at it, chances are it won’t happen right away.

Comments are closed.