Well, I didn’t hit my target. One year ago today, I set myself the goal of writing a better epic than the very disappointing A Dance with Dragons – best to be reasonable, after all – and to do the first 295,000-word draft in a single year. This was inspired by Spacebunny’s cousin’s bitter complaints about the time it took George Martin to write his most recent novel, especially in light of the final product.
I didn’t quite make it, but I did get a bit more than 90 percent of the way there, as I’m presently at 267,000 and counting, which is around 650 pages in trade paperback. I expect to finish before the end of August and you can expect to be able to put it on your Christmas lists if you’re interested; I’ll provide specific information about that in October.
What I’ve learned from this is that setting realistic goals tends to be less useful than setting unrealistic and ambitious ones. Even if you don’t hit them, you’ll get considerably farther than with the more conservative ones. I tend to doubt I will keep up this pace for my next book, but I doubt it will take me four years to do a comparatively minor 100k one either.