Echo 4, rough draft word count: 354,851. 98 chapters. Simply plugging the word counts into my TI-84 (just from experience and personal preference, I keep my chapters in separate word docs) took 40 minutes.
Here’s the kicker: I haven’t written the intro detailing “the story so far,” and I completely forgot to write this beast-ass action scene inspired by Moon Knight’s fight in his weight room (from Charlie Huston’s epic run). So I gotta add those in, and when I do, the manuscript will probably be close to 360,000 words. That is WELL over a thousand pages.
I gotta cut this thing down.
I’m hoping to slice it to AT LEAST 200k words, hopefully closer to 150k. But I kinda see this as karma—I made the first book short and used the excuse of “I’m hewing to the arc of the character” and now the last book is insanely long, because, well, I gotta hew to the arc of the character.
(caught in a trap of my own making!)
This is by far the craziest book in the series. It not only presents my suspicion of how reality works (which is by no means provable), but it’s also got astral casinos where they gamble for [no spoilers!], trees that aren’t just plants, but also [no spoilers!], mind-to-mind combat (that’s not a spoiler, you guys knew that was coming), my take on what would happen to Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger, in the final iteration of his quest (which I’ll probably have to be SUPER careful with to make sure there aren’t that many direct references), really funny and at the same time disgustingly cruel super-robots, and even a pack of flying monkeys. That’s not all of it; I’ve got weirder stuff in there as well.
(Yes—I have found a way to write in flying monkeys and infuse them with thematic signifance.)
And oh yeah: Swords.
So we’ll see if I can simmer this giant pot of mostly crap into a tight, well-flowing narrative. That’s what an author is supposed to do, right? We gotta be detectives, using the most brutally honest and evidence-based perception we can muster to create a convincing case for some ineffable fantasticality, which—if existence is truly infinite and allows for every possible configuration of matter, energy, causality, and different laws of physics—means that said fantasticality is actually REAL.
Maybe Atriya’s out there right now, whupping some ass.
But if he is, then I gotta make sure his story gets told right, right? Because I wouldn’t want that angry-ass cyborg-soldier to come looking to whup MY ass.
So as always, it’s back to work. If you’re a writer, then I wish you inspired drafting and insightful editing!!!