Celebrating a milestone and admitting defeat?
Today I published the 50th episode of Target 10. It’s taken nearly a year and a half to get there, mostly posting once a week except for two breaks where I didn’t post any new episodes. This month though, I started posting twice a week and reached episode 50 sooner than I expected. However it happened, I’m thrilled to reach the milestone and excited about where the story goes from here.
I’ve had this story in my head and scribbled in notebooks for years. I always thought of it as a short story. A couple of years ago, I decided to use it in one of my classes focused on short stories. I got two weeks into the course and realized it wasn’t going to work. After doing detailed character and plot analysis, I estimated it would be closer to a thirty thousand word novella. So I scrapped it for the class and it sat waiting for the right time to work on it again.
Fast forward to July 2021 and the launch of Kindle Vella. I felt Target 10 (though it wasn’t called that yet) was the perfect story for it. Plus, the serial format would encourage me to actually write it and finally finish it. I went in thinking it would be a short ten episode story totaling around 30k words. Well, after finishing the first four episodes, I realized it was going to be longer. Maybe 40 episodes, with an average word count of 1k words per episode. Then I upped my estimate to 50 episodes. Then 60. Now? I’m thinking more like 80. At the fiftieth episode I just passed 55k words, and we haven’t reached the climax yet (but we’re close).
So I have to admit defeat. My ability to estimate how long a story will be is non-existent. Even when I have it all plotted out (like Target 10) there are always more words than I think there will be. In part, this is because I see the story in my mind as a movie. I sometimes gloss over parts in my writing because they are so clear to me, which means I underestimate how many words it will take.
But thankfully my editor sets me straight! She constantly pushes me for more description, to make my vision clearer for the reader. I thank her, but I should thank her more!
I hope you’re enjoying Target 10 and what it has evolved into from its conception. Once we’ve reached the end of this first season (or first book if you wait for the ebook) I’ll share the original idea that sparked the story. That’s a secret that isn’t revealed until the very end. I can’t wait to finally let it out!
If you have theories, I’d love to hear them.
One more thing…
As part of the celebration I finally posted the Target 10 trailer I had made. One day I’ll have character art instead of silhouettes but for now it works!