Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Counts as a Completed Novel?

A postulation popped into my cranium the other day (couldn't think of a "P" word that meant "brain"): What counts as a completed novel?

Now, I ask this because SON OF MAGIC went through two (maybe three) completed iterations -- sometimes with vastly different storylines -- prior to the one it is today. CALLARION AT NIGHT is yet to be completed, but fast approaching that point (16.5 chapters, 169 pages, and 46,630 words as of this writing). Once I finish CaN (yes, that is my filename abbreviation for it), will this mean that I've completed two novels or four novels? Does a completed novel mean you've started over with entirely new characters, or does it mean you've completed works with different storylines where the characters have different motivations?

Where does the bouncing ball land on this? Your thoughts?

8 comments:

Renee Pinner said...

Oh, I struggle with the same. Even as I write my current WIP and take it down two very different paths, I wonder if I'm writing one or two novels. My guess is it'll end up one, adn all this is simpy the grind that goes into writing the one novel. But, man, the work!

L. T. Host said...

Hm; my instinct is to say that same characters, same world, same general storyline= one novel. Now, same characters, same world, completely different storyline obviously = a series. But if the story is similar, or you've used elements of the same story in each one, then it's the same novel, different drafts. I hope this makes sense. It's early. Ugh.

Rick Daley said...

parietal- Anatomy. of, pertaining to, or situated near the side and top of the skull or the parietal bone.

Not quite brain, but close enough if you allow poetic license.

An early draft that need to be written does not count as completed. To me, completed means you are finished changing it.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Finished to me means that the plot is done, the characters are done. However, HATSHEPSUT is still being revised for grammar, metaphors, etc, but I call it finished. It's simply in the revision stage.

When I first wrote it I didn't like the ending and knew it had to be changed. So I didn't consider it a complete. Now it is.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great question. I have completely written the same novel twice and am working on the third time around. All three very different versions. But I suppose I agree with L.T. it's really one novel.

Davin Malasarn said...

For me, it's just a feeling I get. I've written three novel drafts, but I only consider one, my most recent one, complete. And, even though I call it complete, I still go into it and make changes. I've decided that will be an ongoing process until it is in print.

Bane of Anubis said...

If you use the same characters, but different storylines, it's a different novel to me. I did this w/ TLCC - started off as THE GOBLIN PRINCE and though I used about 1,000 words from TGP, about 70k of it was original (though some of the plotlines were similar)

Adam Heine said...

When I finish a draft, then I've "written a novel" but I'm not finished with it yet. If I revise the novel, it's still the same (one novel). If I do a rewrite of the novel, I'd probably say I "wrote it twice".

Like my first novel, TRAVELERS -- if I ever go back to it, I'm going to rewrite the whole thing, including scrapping the current protagonist(s), but I will still consider it a new draft of the same novel. Sometimes a new draft is updated prose, sometimes it's a whole rewrite, but it's still the same novel in my mind.