by Shelt Garner
The rule of thumb is the sweet spot for your first novel is somewhere between 80,000 and 100,000 words. There is a chance that I may FINALLY have figured out a suitable beginning to the third draft of this novel and yet the first act has ballooned to about 48 scenes. In general, each scene is 1,000 words and so that’s potentially 50,000 of my 100,000 allotted words right there.
My novel has a Barry-esque element to it.
The first step is to just write the thing and see what happens. There is a chance that the whole novel is going to be about 140,000 words, which is about what The Girl On The Train is, as I understand it.
At that point, I have two options.
One, I could theoretically figure out a way to split the novel into two, self-contained novels. This would be difficult, but not impossible. This is what happened to my first serious attempt to write a novel in this universe. Those two novels are now the last two novels in what is projected to be a six novel project. If I did split this novel into two, that would really help me keep it being a six novel project while eliminating what is now the second novel because I’ve been struggling to figure out what to do with it.
The last option is to say fuck it and just try to sell a novel that is 140,000 words. The success of The Girl On The Train proves that it’s not impossible to sell a novel that is a little bit longer, as long as it’s good.
I think the solution to this problem is to just finish the third draft and then pause to take stock as to what I’m going to do.