Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

How does it feel to write a novel? Orson Scott Card's experience:

"...there is a weird story-dilation effect that I've noticed. At about 25,000 words, I start thinking this novel will never end -- I'm barely started and I've got all these pages! That feeling persists up to 50,000 words. But then, along about 75,000 words, I start getting a real anxiety that I'm suddenly moving so quickly that this novel won't get even to 90,000. Then, at about 100,000 words, I realize that I'm not done yet so I have nothing to worry about. And at 108,000 or 112,000, I'm done. Sometimes, of course, it doesn't happen that way -- Seventh Son was shorter, Saints was longer, Xenocide was longer. But generally speaking, at the pace I tend to use, and with the sense I have developed of how much story makes a book, my novels hover between 100,000 and 110,000 words. But that's me -- it's what I'm comfortable with

Interesting. But here is the real revealing bit:

"I guess what it boils down to is: Until you've written some novels, you don't know what it feels like to write novels, so you can't make decisions about length. Nor can you trust your feelings along the way, since at times it will feel as if the book will never end and other times as if you'll never be able to stretch it out long enough to make a book out of it. And length does not really depend on the plotting. It depends on the pacing."

These two quotes rate pacing above plotting. The plot here is inherent in the characterisation:- that is, the character is seen as Emotion v. Emotion, or as having dual desires such as I love X and I also love Y. Pacing is the revelation of character over time, in the appropriate manner to the audience.

But more surprising for me is that a book can expand and contract itself to fit the pace, without significant changes to the plot itself. A new idea every day on this blog!


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