Novella ho!

Today the silly story I am writing for the kids passed 30,000 words, which seems to be a commonly accepted minimum for dubbing your fiction a “novella”.  For reference, Google indicates that Charlotte’s Web is a bit over 32,000 words, while The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe weighs in at 36,000 or so.  According to this site, I’m on a course to hit the optimal length for the age range I have in mind.

Without putting a full day or even a half day into it, I can hit 1,000 words per day reliably. Daily Rituals When I throw a full day at it that number goes up to about 3,000 words max.  When I need to get a new chapter out and just can’t think of what to do, I take a page from Woody Allen’s playbook as reported in Mason Curry’s Daily Rituals.  In Allen’s own words,

If I go up and take a shower it’s a big help.  So I sometimes take extra showers.  I’ll be down here and at an impasse and what will help me is to go upstairs and take a shower.  It breaks up everything and relaxes me.

He’s right:  the shower always busts up my writer’s block.  But this is my favorite quotable quote from Curry’s collection, this time from novelist Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22:

I gave up once and started watching television with my wife.  Television drove me back to Catch-22.  I couldn’t imagine what Americans did at night when they weren’t writing novels.


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Author: Dr. Holmes

Dr. Jeremy Holmes teaches Theology at Wyoming Catholic College. He lives in Wyoming with his wife, Jacinta, and their eight children.

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Peter Kwasniewski
Peter Kwasniewski
9 years ago

Keller’s reaction is similar to mine, with regard to the internet. We had wireless at home for a year, and we found that (a) we were buying more stuff online, (b) we were wasting time on blogs and comboxes, and (c) there was a subtle temptation to “look things up” (even for ostensibly educational purposes). So we got rid of it, and found out that (a) people spent more time in artistic creativity, whether painting or writing, (b) we wanted to read novels out loud, such as those of P.G. Wodehouse, and (c) we kept lists of the things that… Read more »