I just hit the 45,000-word mark, which puts me halfway toward my anticipated total length of 90,000 words. Or I should say initially anticipated; I really feel like I’m more than halfway through the book at this point. I just started a big, multi-chapter scene that forms the end of my more-or-less second act, and after that there will be a few more flashbacks, a buildup to the big climax, and then that’s pretty much it. Chances are the first draft is going to be more like 80,000 words. Maybe even less. 

When I was first conceiving of Hubris I saw it as something much like Good Omens, an ensemble-cast comedy adventure with plenty of quirky side characters and funny asides (I also saw it as a graphic novel - more on that in a future post). And while I’m still very much indebted to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s great book, mine is turning out to be quite different. I’m spending a lot more time focusing on my two main characters and getting into their heads than on building up a supporting cast. The tone is also much less goofy than I originally intended and there aren’t a lot of clear-cut jokes. Part of this is just first-draft missteps that I’ll correct later. But it also goes to show how organic the process of writing long-form stories can be. 

I’m actually pleased that my book is leaning away from a direct Pratchett / Gaiman / Douglas Adams pastiche. I wrote the second chapter in the voice of a dry, detached omniscient narrator very much like the ones in Good Omens and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, except less British; twelve chapters later, I’ve realized that I don’t have any need for that voice and it’s not going to come back. So out goes the second chapter. It also means I have to rewrite an important passage in the third chapter that I’ve been fiddling with for something like a year now. But that’s fine, because it feels like I actually have an authorial voice, and that I’m not just ripping off all my influences. At least not completely. We’ll see what I think once I’ve finished the first draft and actually read it all the way through.