When I first started writing, it was a struggle to fill the pages. Too much scientific academia had stripped my writing to the leanest of lean. I would look at those 65k word counts and sigh while other people complained about how they just couldn't tell a story in under 400 pages. I couldn't even begin to fathom 400 pages.
I've gotten better over the years. I can hit a solid 65k without too much trouble now (as long as I can make it through chapter 7). I've even made it as high as 90k, which is just six pages shy of 400, actually. Part of it is layering. That's an important step for me now, especially with paranormals. You have to set the stage, establish the magic, which is something I sorta glossed over before. Another part that has helped is getting in touch with my voice. My inner editor had been axing a lot of the silliness that I came up with because I didn't think it fit into what a romance novel should be. Letting my quirk into my stories has bumped up my page counts significantly and earned praise that tells me I'm on the right track.
Which leads me to my new problem. Now that I've unleashed the beast, how do I rein it back in? How do I write a 50-55k category novel when there's all this cool stuff in my head? I start off with a simple enough idea - perfect category book. Then I start plotting. Now I've got enough plot to fill a good chunk of the pages and that's without the character development, the romance, the internal conflict or my favorite part... the funny characters and situations that aren't critical to the story, but are just dying to get out. How do I cut out the quirky, old Egyptologists or the loud, Italian family that is a big part of my character's lives? I mean, I could skip all that, but I think that would mean cutting out one of my strengths.
Wise people have told me that you should never waste a single title idea on a category book. What am I supposed to do now that I struggle to come up with a category plot? Emotion is one of my weaknesses. I can't just write a story with two characters in conflict that emote for 230 pages. There has to be more going on for me to write it. Something aside from tortured pasts and inabilities to trust. A bad guy. A curse. Possession. Even sex - which is saying a lot for me and how much I dislike emoting. All this, if done well or at least, done to my own satisfaction, takes up lots of pages.
Part of me says I should just embrace this idea. Accept that I have a single title voice and go with it. So, I'll just sell single title instead, right? Nope. The single title market is a bear. Hell, the business as a whole is rough, but saying I'm going to start out as an untried author and shoot for single title is crazy talk. Can't hardly get in the door without an agent, then you start the "need an agent to get published, need to be published to get an agent" nonsense. Sigh. Everytime I start with the kernal of an idea, it just blows way out of bounds, but in a good way I don't want to fight. I guess I'll just continue to write what I write and see what happens.
Now that I've come to this realization, I'll get an offer from a category publisher and spend my time banging my head against the desk during edits. Gladly banging my head, but banging nonetheless. What about you? Come to any conclusions about your life lately?
P.S. PC is on a field trip today. Pop on over to the Bare Ass Cottage and say hi.