I am furiously writing as much and as fast as I can and I checked to see how many words The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is and, thankfully, it’s about 200,000 words. I feel I can take a deep breath now because that means a popular first novel can be twice as long as I had first thought.
The novel I’m writing is heavily influence by what I remember of several works of pop fiction from The Foundation Saga, to Stieg Larsson’s millennium series, to Mission: Impossible — Fallout to any number of other things here and there. What I definitely want to do is write a work of pop fiction that is an engaging and fast read. Ideally, it would be a thought provoking beach read. Something long enough that it might taken you a holiday weekend (July 4th?) at the beach to read, but an easy enough read that it won’t really tax your mind too terribly much.
I really like The Martian because I managed to read it in about four hours at a bookstore without even buying it. It was engaging, fun and went by at quick clip. I also like Ready Player One for similar reasons. One of the big things I have to do is think out every possible angle for this novel. Only by thinking through every possible problem this scenario might bring up can I produce something both interesting enough, and long enough that it might have a shot at being popular.
But I see this as part of a broader process. This is a first novel attempt, so it’s possible literally no one and I mean no one will find it all that great. Yet that isn’t really the point for me. This is more about establishing how to write a novel in the first place. So, even if this first serious attempt at writing a novel is a “failure” in any commercial sense, it will be a great stepping off point to bigger and better things.
Having said all that, I am really enjoying writing this novel and it’s going a lot better than all my other failed attempts to write one in the past. I think it has more to do with how many years I’ve thought this scenario through than anything else. That, and I’ve moved into a new living situation which feels a great deal like a writer’s retreat.
So, for the time being, I’m trying to simply enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.