Sunday, May 14, 2006

Does Length Matter?

Hair? Nails? Eye lashes? Hell no! I'm talking about chapter lengths. Because I am such a hard working girl, I have today finished re-writing my entire, 85,000 word m/s (oh, Imogen, how dark your hair, how green your face) and noticed my chapter lengths varied by as much as 2,500 words (shortest to longest) - and it occurred to me - does length matter - or at least, does inconsistency in length matter?

To be honest with you, I have to say I didn't actually spend very long contemplating the answer - I just thought, hey! that's a great title for a post - that's how deep and meaningful my annual introspections are.

On the subject of honesty, the re-writing isn't really finished - I mean, I have got to the end of the m/s, but I now I need to fine-tune it as I've made some quite substantial changes that require sharpening up and a character who has decided she no longer wants to play a bit part. Naturally, I tried to explain to her that not everyone in my book could own a Porsche, a swanky apartment and learn to fly - but, looking back, I think that may only have wound her up. I've warned her that if she causes too much trouble, I shall cut her out altogether - and, would you believe, she threatened to sue me for breach of contract? Who do these people think they are?

Now, what time is my next appointment with the shrink?



Blogger Stacy Dawn said...

In my opinion length doesn't matter (except maybe in other male anatomy). Mixing it up keeps the reader and the pace moving through your story. If the chapters ended naturally and at a good place then I'd say you did your job.

11:14 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

I agree with Stacy - variety adds spice.

Personally I think you have to go with your instincts and write until it makes sense.

Sharon J posted a similar question on her weblog a while back.

11:38 pm  
Blogger India said...

Yes. It matters VERY MUCH. And now you will have to go back and write the whole thing all over again.

11:07 am  
Blogger Eva said...

Annie, how do I account for your great progress on the word counter?!

4:06 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

Thank you Stacy and Eva for your helpful comments - the large variety of comments on Sharon J's weblog backs up the theory of going with your own instinct - so I'm sticking with that.

Imogen - do I detect a gossamer thin trace of jealousy hidden amongst your caring words?

As for word count, Eva - I'm resisting suggesting we call it the full monty just to wind Imogen up even more and suggest we call it half way, especially as I'm now back at work full time for the next two weeks, so won't get the chance to do very much until after then. What do you think?

6:12 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

Sounds good. I'll make the update to the word counter soon. Right now, however, "the server at is taking too long to respond".

Be sure to check in regularly while you're at work (as opposed to working on your novel). Imogen has been relatively quiet of late, so I don't know about you but I'm expecting a big increase in her word metre!

That said, I'd better get some words in myself as I'm taking the latter part of this week off.

6:27 pm  
Blogger India said...

Jealousy?? Nahhh....

(Imogen stamps off and writes 'rhubarb' 5000 times for chapter 3, while wondering if purchase of new top-end make-up will disguise permanent green-tinged complexion.)

7:07 pm  
Blogger Stacy Dawn said... guys are hilarious!

12:09 am  
Blogger Annie said...

Eva - I've been expecting a big increase in Imogen's word counter for some time now - then again, I've also been expecting to win the lottery/have my book published/meet George Clooney/star in a film alongside GC/have GC turn up at my front door with a bottle of Martini - or even without a bottle of Martini. What can I say? I'm just one great big eternal optimist - which is lucky for Imogen.

By the way, Imogen - I love rhubarb, but I couldn't eat a whole chapter. Does the make-up come in a very large container?

I will do my best to cover for you while you're off, Eva - but I can't promise anything remotely as sensible or interesting as the things wot you write. Are you going away? Or house-hunting? Or just taking a well-earned break? Whichever - enjoy!

Glad we're keeping you amused, Stacy! You must spend as much time on the floor as you do at your desk!

8:18 pm  
Blogger Eva said...

I shall leave the blog in your capable hands, Annie.

I'm in Toronto for a few days on business - that other business I occasionally engage in - and then on to London (Ontario) to visit the family. I'll be back Victoria Day. (Isn't it crazy that we former colonists still celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday while you guys don't!)

12:51 am  
Blogger Sue aka MsCreativity said...

LOL! I love catching up with your blog. You *really* do have me L-O-L. :-)
I was going to give you my intake on whether I think length matters, but I'm going to be lazy (for a change) and just say Ditto to comments made on Sharon's.

4:06 pm  
Blogger Annie said...

You former colonists are a funny lot, Eva - why would you celebrate the birth of a pub that features in a British soap?

You know what they say, mscreativity - laziness is next to godliness. Keep up the good work.

6:22 pm  

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