Tuesday, 15 January 2008
"The first half-million words are just practice." - Dean Koontz
If I take that quotation to heart, then I'm only halfway through rehearsal, nowhere near curtain call. My tally thus far:
Novel No. 1 - 91,000
Novel No. 2 - 91,000
Memoir - 60,000
Novel No. 3 - 14,000
That adds up to just over a quarter million words. I also read somewhere that it's only after the first million words that a writer finds his 'voice', that elusive 'something' that makes his work recognizably his own.
Where does that leave people like Harper Lee? Mockingbird was her only novel. I suppose it's possible that it was her only published novel, and her first 500,000 to 1,000,000 words are rotting in a basement somewhere...
Does anyone truly believe in Koontz's half-million benchmark, or in the achievement of 'voice' at the million-word truck stop? I think it depends on the writer. What do you think?