Yesterday I reached the 50k words point in my new novel. There is something about reaching that mark that feels significant. Ten thousand words and I feel “wow, I’m writing this thing”, I reach twenty thousand words and I worry how much I still don’t know about this thing I’m writing. Thirty thousand words and the plan for the rest of the novel tends to reveal itself to me, so I can gleefully jot it down. I reach forty thousand words and I begin to question and doubt everything. Is my main character relatable or did I make every single side character more fleshed out instead? Is the plot nonsensical? Can I write? Do I know how to spell “bureaucracy” (generally yes, after a few attempts)?
And then I reach fifty thousand words. And the end is in sight, regardless of how long the novel is actually going to be (my first novel was a whopping 110k words, and the feeling was the same). Suddenly the bullet points of scenes get rapidly deleted, as I run out of the story and the book is done (or the first draft at least).
Now I know this, because this is my third novel. I didn’t know what my “process” was around my first novel. I was beginning to have an inkling with the second one. And now I look towards the fifty thousand word goal like a rusalka looks to a witless young man lost by her pond. I clock it, I pounce, and the rest is easy (if possibly unpalatable to some people).