(Actually, I've always wondered about that phrase. Does it mean to keep the ship steady while it's going by course-correction, or does it mean "that's as steady as it goes"? Oh well. Moving on.)
Now that the October commissions are taken care of (except for a few logistical tidbits) and most of the various Life Crises that keep popping up have simmered down a little, I have been able to make some actual progress on the new Michael Macbeth novel. Given the speed at which I'm moving through the outline, compared to the wordcount, I'm starting to worry a little that I might run out of story before I run out of wordcount, at least on the first draft. I don't know if I need more character building or mood setting, or maybe there's some thread that I could build out into a full-fledged subplot.
I'm still getting used to the long format. Most of the stories I've written over the years have fallen into the 6,000-12,000 word range, which I suspect reflects my natural attention span more than anything else. Stories shorter than that leave me feeling unfulfilled, while stories longer than that require a lot more investment than I'm often willing to make.
I have written a few longer pieces, although none of them were publication-quality. One was a deliberately self-indulgent pulpy space-opera novella that was sorta like Shogun on a planet full of cat-people, which came in around 25,000 words. It was my first attempt to write long, and so I filled it with all the things I love in space opera that every editor hates, because it was never intended to be published anyway and I wanted to be happy inhabiting the world of the book.
The second was a cozy murder mystery set at a country bed-and-breakfast, which I think landed in the 50,000 word range (it's been a while now, I can't remember). It was competently done, but dull. The last one was a fantasy novel based on an RPG campaign I ran in Richmond, which broke the 60,000 word mark as I recall. I was very proud of it at the time, but honestly looking back on it now, I find it painfully cliché. A high-quality fanfic, perhaps, but not something I would want to offer up to the world as my contribution to the fantasy genre.
I'm hoping for better things with my new book. But if I want to actually get somewhere on it, I guess I should get to writing, huh?
NaNoWriMo, take me away! *whooooosh*