Throughout the writing of my Fathers and Sons stories, I kept myself blissfully unaware of the overall word count. I simply wrote the stories I had as well as I could. I knew after about four written that I had something bigger on my hands than just a handful of short stories, and at the time I didn’t know how many there would be or when (if) they would have an end.
But then I decided last week that I was done. I had told all the stories I needed to tell in this universe. Nineteen stories and a short coda. I prepared the documents and sent them to my beta readers. I’d sent them as individual files, but one of my readers asked if I could combine them into a single file. That was easy enuf to do, and I did, and I sent that new document to him.
But because they were now in a single document, I could not stop myself from checking the overall word count, the value that was meaningless to me all along and that suddenly seemed interesting once I actually had it.
The nineteen stories plus one coda come in at about 56,000 words. That’s not bad at all. It will likely change as I deal with the no doubt profound, insightful, quite helpful input my two readers offer.
But nagging me is the fact that the word count comes just shy of 60,000 words, which is the generally held as the minimum considered sufficient for a novel. My thoughts are slowly shifting toward marketing this collection, and, as I said before, the idea of a story cycle seems less likely than just calling it a novel. But coming up short on the word count might make that difficult as well.
And so, what happens? Well, my brain has begun sending me ideas for a couple more stories I could write for the cycle. I’d mentioned before that there are some gaps in the years. I suppose I could attempt to fill those a bit. And I really do know these characters well. If I contrived some new situations for them, I’m sure I would understand how they would behave and think and react. I could do it.