Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

Reviewing Choices

January 2, 2007 by Richard Wright in Journal, News, Writing

Right then, 2007 is here, and it’s time to get to work. Before we do that though, allow me to share what is an excellent way to start the new year – the first review of the anthology Choices is online, and it’s not too shabby.

“For the readers who are not familiar with the emerging British writers of dark fiction, here’s an excellent opportunity to become acquainted with some of the finest new authors from the UK.”

And…

“Finally, “Radio trauma” by Richard Wright is a tense, breathtaking drama in which a radio show turns into a living nightmare when a man, who’s torturing his wife and menacing to kill her, burst in the broadcasting. The psychological study of the characters involved and the dangerous emotional game taking place between the caller and the show conductor is simply outstanding.”

Go and check the whole thing out, and if you’re excited by what you see, pick up a copy (and those of you who pre-ordered – the publisher says copies will be dispatched in the next week, so you won’t be waiting long).

Reviews are always an odd experience for me. While it’s a tremendous relief when they’re favourable, it’s very hard to relate something you’ve written to what the reviewer is talking about. Only the most arrogant writers finish a piece of work, and then think of it in terms such as ‘breathtaking’ and ‘outstanding’ (and I suspect that very often those writers are very often fooling themselves entirely). When somebody else makes that sort of evaluation, I tend to nod politely, and shuffle away. It’s pleasing, but also a little uncomfortable. When I finished Radio Trauma, I was pleased with it, and thought it worked pretty well. I wanted it to be an enjoyable read, and that was the extent of my hopes for it. That pretty much remains the case. I take good reviews with as large a pinch of salt as I do bad ones (though, perversely, it’s much easier to believe a bad review of your work than a good one!). All that said, the book and the story have clearly pleased one reader, the reviewer in question, and that’s a wonderful thing in itself.

Okay then, on to some work, and we’ll do some numbers before I wander off and attend to the words. A couple of days ago, I told you about my writing ambitions for 2007. They amount to four novels, twelve novellas or novelettes, and twenty-one short stories. That’s quite a lot of writing, and a couple of you dropped me a line to ask how much that came to. Here are some estimated figures.

  • 1 novel equates to roughly 100,000 words
  • 1 novella equates to roughly 30,000 words
  • 1 short story equates to roughly 3000 words

Now, bear in mind that the above figures are averages. You know yourself from your own reading that there is no such thing as a standard length in any of these forms, but the above will do for some rough estimates. Have you worked it out in your head yet? That’s right. I’ve just challenged myself to right 823,000 words of fiction in one year.

That’s quite a lot, actually. It’s not going to be easy, at all. It’s a bit more than 2200 words a day, in fact. Now, I have no intention of trying to stick rigidly to that figure, as doing so will more likely cramp me than motivate me. I’ll bear it in mind as an average, and we’ll see if it’s achievable. You can even follow me through the year, if you like, with the word meter thing at the bottom of this entry, that I’ll keep posting as the weeks and months roll by.

Nothing like setting a high bar, is there…

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4 Comments

  1. JackieJanuary 2, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Wow. You don’t do anything half-assed, do you? πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ I’m looking forward to reading 800,000 words by next year. I hope I can read as fast as you write! HAH!

    What a marvelous review. Now I am more-than-ever excited to get my copy of Choices which should be on the way soon! *rubs hands together in gleeful anticipation*

  2. Richard WrightJanuary 3, 2007 at 8:28 amAuthor

    Yep – in truth, if I get anywhere near that, I’ll be happy!

  3. MarkJanuary 3, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Happy New Year!

    Blimey, you have set yourself quite a target, haven’t you? My plan, having really enjoyed breaking my block with “The Mill”, is to finally get around to writing “The Day It Rained”, an apocalyptic novella. I reckon about 45k words should do it, which with my over-writing tendencies is closer to 60k in the first draft. I’m not planning to have that completed (in 3rd draft at least) until mid-July.

    Perhaps, if this year goes well, you can send me some of your “get-up-and-go”?

    Good luck, anyway and I look forward to reading some more great Richard Wright material very soon (Choices is on its way).

    Mark

  4. Richard WrightJanuary 3, 2007 at 5:29 pmAuthor

    Definitely worth a blimey, but also worth a try. Partly, I just want to see if it’s possible for me to work consistently at that rate over a long period. Call it an experiment in testing my boundaries πŸ˜‰

    Was delighted to read about your Boxing Day success with The Mill – I’ve an idea of which anthology this is being accepted at, and it’s a very nice place to be if I’m right!

    Now get back to work. Apocalypses don’t happen on thier own, you know…

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