Let's Be Honest and a ROW80 Check-In

ROW80LogocopyI didn’t give myself too many goals for this round of ROW80 — basically two: Finish the first draft of Emergence and get a good jump on Crossing Paths.

  • Emergence is now up to roughly 80k of my 110k target. I’m feeling pretty confident on getting to The End by the middle of June. Then, editing.
  • Because of #1 and that being my priority, I haven’t spent a lot of time on Crossing Paths. I’ve got about 11k written and haven’t visited Rainie and Ethan as much as I would like because . . .
  •  . . . the nonWIP WIP is up to a little over 12k and I can’t seem to leave it alone. The brothers are being very bad. (Quiet, ReGi! 😉  ) I’m trying what to decide to do with it. Not because I *want* to, mind, but because the muses are obviously insisting. I really have no idea where it’s going. It just goes. I’ve given the boys free rein and they’ve taken it, damn them.

I’d have to look, but I believe one of my goals was to write every day. So far I’ve been doing pretty good there. However, now that the weather has gotten nice, it’s time to paint the house. The house is in serious need of paint. Has been since we bought it. I was all for paying someone to do it, the price being well-worth it considering I’m very jealous of my “free” time. They hubby, however, has decided we will tackle it ourselves. Grrrrrrr So, between that and the dogs and their schedule, I’m scraping for writing time. Breaks at work, getting up early on weekends, foregoing the couch and reading — I’ll make it work.

And, since I’ve got your ear (or eyes) let’s take a look at #7 on the list of Writerly Virtues by Chuck Wendig that I’ve been exploring: Honesty.

Writers are liars who use those lies to tell truths.  ~Chuck Wendig

Agree, or disagree? As a writer we make stuff up, constantly. Is telling tales a form of lying?

For writers, and anyone pursuing any goal, I link Honesty with being Realistic. You have to be honest with yourself about your goals, how hard you’re willing to work toward them, and (the hardest part) how good you are. If you suck, and you know, don’t be afraid to show it! Oops, sorry, I spent a year in grade school as a cheerleader and those sort of rhymes were common fare. And before you go off on a tangent with that tasty morsel of my past, I was *only* a cheerleader because there weren’t any girl sport teams. It was a very small school with barely enough boys to make a basketball team and in that day, no such thing as co-ed sports.

You don’t need to flaunt the fact you suck, but you do need to be honest about it. Does that mean you give up? Hells no!! You get better. You practice, you learn, you try (sticktoitiveness), you work at your craft until you get better. And once you’re better? You KEEP WORKING AT IT because once you decide you’ve got nothing more to learn, you’re going to find out you do.

You need to be Honest about the ‘why’ as well, because that changes all the other aspects. Do you want whatever ‘it’ is for fame and fortune? For someone else? To be accepted? To be one of the in-crowd? Or do you want it for you? Because it feeds your soul. Because it is a Need, not a want, not a desire, a need like oxygen?



  1. I have to say how glad I am to see someone with a 110,000-word goal. My manuscript was 128,000 words at one point. When I mentioned the word count to a few people, they balked. “Oh, that’s way too much.” I mentioned that book 5 of Harry Potter was 256,000 words. “That’s way too much,” I was told, even though that book sold millions. I said, “But it’s high fantasy. It’ll only be around 430 pages printed.” I even read a blog post where the writer said a 100,000 word book was too long. Some people believe that 80,000 or 90,000 words should be the high end. What do you think?

    • When I was shopping FOHK around, I was told 80-90k was a *minimum* and I should aim for 100-110k. Granted, I won’t sacrifice the story for sake of the word count — ie adding fluff to pad it. And I figure if I can hit 110k I’ve got some wiggle room when it comes to editing. There is somewhat of a trend for shorter, quicker, reads. *shrug* If I’m really into a book and don’t want it to end, I get ticked when it’s too short. 😉

  2. Do what feel right for YOU. Rules are made to be broken and they’re broken all the time. Please yourself FIRST. Now, go get ’em.

  3. I’m not sure I feel that telling tales is a form of lying. I think the difference is in audience awareness. People reading a novel know that they are being told a made-up tale. However, people aren’t always aware when they’re being lied to. It’s a good question. One I’ll have to ponder.

  4. I love that stories are a way to express a truth – like a painting or a dance. Although they are not truth, I don’t really think it is lying either, just a way to illustrate a point.

    And just to be clear, does the non-WIP WIP, have more words than the actual WIP???

    You are doing awesomely well though. *shakes pom poms* (because that is the closest I’ll ever get to cheerleading… LOL.

  5. You’re doing great with Emergence, it sounds like you will make your goal, good for you! And I think it’s great you’re still writing your non-WIP when the mood strikes, best way to keep the writer’s block away! Have a great writing week 🙂

  6. Sometimes the tales a writer tells are more true than the facts of the event that inspired them. Truth and falsehood are tricky words anyway… We don’t get the truth from anyone… not even ourselves. What we see in a picture, depends on the focus of the camera, added light and/or filters, as well as whether the image has been cropped and edited.

    The same holds news, stories… It all gets filtered into something we can understand and process…and feel in our very being.

    Good writing may not be the “every detail can be verified by a team of scientists and some well-calibrated machines” true, but it’s true if it connects with the reader and makes them experience something new and yet familiar.

    Go have fun with Emergence and get it finished. 😉

    • Huh. WordPress ate my reply. How do you like that? But you’re absolutely right about this: We don’t get the truth from anyone… not even ourselves. What movie had the line, “You can’t handle the truth!” I picture Jack Nicholson yelling it, but it may have been someone else. And maybe no one can handle the complete truth. *shrug* FWIW, I don’t think writers are liars either. As Kate pointed out, it’s in the “audience awareness”.

  7. My first book was 125,000 and I was told a first novel “should” be about 80,000 to 90,000. But that’s only if you’re going for a traditional agent+publisher. E-pubbing seems entirely reader-driven. So I’ll just join the pom-pom crew and cheer you on!!! The other issue about how we lie to ourselves. Hmm. A complex issue. Perhaps sometimes we need to see reality with a glow of optimism — especially if it keeps us writing!

    • I think I remember hearing that “first novel” line as well. I like 110k as a target because that gives me room to kill my darlings edit and still hit 90-100k which I think is a good length.

  8. Pingback: #WIPpet Wednesday, #ROW80 and the Versatile Blogger Award | A Keyboard and an Open Mind

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