Just yesterday night…um, last night, I guess…I reached a milestone in my story (which I would have to explain if I told you what it was, and which I suppose I could have done here in fewer words, but won’t) and the page 400 at the same time. This isn’t that big of a deal since some stories are really long, especially single-title romance novels which cover epic stretches of time, but it’s a big deal for me because this is the first time I’ve ever estimated how long something would take to happen (a few weeks ago Joshua asked me how long I thought it would take to get to this particular milestone and I said “It ought to happen by page 400.”) and been right. I’m not sure, but I might be well-known for thinking I can fit a story into a certain amount of space (20 pgs, writing school kids?) and realizing later that the story was in fact a very arduously compressed novel. So I’m pretty excited.
I’m also pretty excited that I’ve reached page four hundred because it’s the farthest I’ve ever come on a project (2/3 of the way, baby!), although it presents me with a new problem: repetition. A four-hundred page novel is bound to repeat phrases from time to time, but if you’re a writer and you’re anything like me you remember exactly how you phrased everything on every page…
What I’m trying to say is, when there’s no other way to write that “____ slammed the door,” “slammed the door” really starts to grate on your mental ear. Suddenly you start feeling like everything you’ve written has been written before and you start to wonder whether you’re just phoning this book in, but there’s nothing else you can do, you have to say that they slammed the door because they did slam the freaking door, and–
And your brain gets paranoid. Which it probably shouldn’t bother doing since you (meaning me) are going to be called a hack for writing a romance novel anyway whether you use the same phrase over and over again or not, so you (me again) should just do it up right.
Good advice, self. That’s what I’ll do, then.