I went back to analyze my writing history to see if I had come anywhere near the infamous 1 million word count mark. I’m a bit over half-way there coming in at well over 500K. I’m not saying I believe in this arbitrary rule that no one can seem to remember who actually set. But it does, I think, give some perspective to go back and look at the work you’ve done.
The above graph is what I made after counting up my word counts. I included only fictional writing post-bachelor’s degree. My non-fictional writing is my blog, so… whatever. As you can see I mostly wrote short stories. Funny, since I’m not sure I really like them. I’m also a big fan of screenplays which is no surprise, they are easy and fun. What I did discover though is that most of the works I’m proud of… as in, I finished, edited, and polished them… are novellas.
This is totally fine with me. There are some great novellas out there: A Clockwork Orange, The Time Machine, Heart of Darkness, War of the Worlds. Basically, what I got was that my writing reflects my dislike of incredibly long-winded novels. No offense to Harry Potter. Most of my favorite books are long: Pride and Prejudice and Count of Monte Cristo, with Picture of Dorian Gray coming in at a bit over 70K. But my favorite stories I’ve written are novellas.
I didn’t want to do this next part, but after a few days I caved. It’s important I think, though I wouldn’t be able to say exactly why with any certainty.
As can be seen in the above graph, I’m a naughty naughty girl. In my defense, some of the erotica is based in SciFi/Fantasy but I put in the erotica category because, in my mind, I’m working on the difference between Laurell K. Hamilton and Tad Williams. The story’s are mostly porn really, with the SciFi element as secondary. This pie chart is very embarrassing.
But not as embarrassing as the next pie chart.
Let me explain this chart. The fanfiction part is obvious. They are stories based in an established universe with established characters. The darker blue labeled “in universe” means stories written with original characters in an established universe, like the Lovecraft Cthulhu mythos book I wrote. The green is Real Person Fiction, fictional stories written about real people.
Ok, so here’s where I get defensive. Not all fanfiction is bad, I say. Any book written and published in the Star Trek and Star Wars universe is basically approved fanfiction. Also, a lot of stories are written in someone else’s pre-established universe. I’m not going to feel bad about my Lovecraft book because Lovecraft encouraged writers to write in his universe. I would like to argue for Real Person Fiction, because it includes my Edgar Allan Poe biopic screenplay. But most of what I wrote in that green slice of pie makes me want to remain anonymous, even if it was well written.
Well, I’ve been enlightened by this whole experience. I was afraid I had much less original work than I do. In the future I hope to make that yellow and dark blue slice overwhelm the other two. The erotica, eh, it is what it is and when I tell people about it they usually just look at me like I’m some naughty librarian. I’m also surprised by how large the horror section was. Perhaps I should write something truly disturbing. Something that makes the tree scene in Evil Dead look mild. Suffice to say, I’m left feeling enthusiastic about my future work and just a bit wicked.