I am a novelist. Officially.
I broke the novel barrier last night—crossed the 40,000 word mark on my current story. So however many more words it takes to finish this proect, it is already by form definition now a novel. I could write one more chapter that creates a rushed and terrible ending but still draws everything together and have a novel.
I’m not going to do that, mind; the story would be nothing like the awesome trajectory in my head. But I could, and it would be done, and it would still be a novel.
It’s an unexpected milestone, and one I’m more glad to reach than I would have expected even if I had thought about it in advance. This story has been the longest thing I’ve written for a good 10,000 words now, but it has been slow going for about the last 5000. I’ve been worried about keeping my path in the fog of the middle third of the story where everything is blurry and uncertain and shifting in the half-light. Playing tricks on my eyes and on my muse. This marker of progress, however arbitrary, was a much-needed landmark that tells me yes, you’re still headed in the right direction. You’re not walking in circles, even if you are lost.