Story? Novel? Book?

So here’s a question for all my fellow writers out there: what do you call the projects you work on? I mean, if you’re writing something that’s novel length, do you call it a novel? Or a book? Do you label it?

My current project, the main one I’ve been working on for the past two months, is now way over 100,000 words, and is over 280 pages. know the point to which I want to get with my characters progress before I stop and begin the strenuous and, I assume, long process of editing, fact checking and making sure that everything makes sense and isn’t total crap. I accept the fact that it might well not be worth a damn once I’m finished and that maybe I’ll put it aside and begin something new. The idea doesn’t scare me as much as it used to. It’s okay to write things that stay in the closet and never leave, because they’re practice for those things that are good enough to show the world and be proud of.

Anyway, the point is that my story is in advance stages, more than halfway through – maybe even three-quarters of the way. I know that if I choose to keep it, there will be a sequel or a part two or something of the sort, because I’ve simply discovered so many things that my characters need to go through that I didn’t realize before. But I still call the whole thing, all 285 pages that I have so far,  a “story” because it is. It’s a story, there’s no doubt about that, but I feel that calling it a novel or a book is… well, somehow it’s as if I don’t deserve those titles for it yet.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve actually gotten to the point where I actually do consider myself a writer, because, well, I write! I write two hours a day, and I enjoy it. I love the feeling the words coming out of my mind and suddenly finding themselves on paper or screen, the little sounds that they keys make as my fingers fly across them on my tiny little laptop, my sturdy companion. I love the way the pen feels in my hand when I write in my journal. I love the feeling of knowing that I write every day, and I even love the frustration and anger and hate that I sometimes feel when I try to write and don’t manage to. It’s all part and parcel of being a writer (not yet an author, of course, but a writer) and I love it.

But how about you? Do you put labels on your work? Are you scared to do so like me, or are you bold and courageous and agree to say that your project is a novel or book-in-progress?

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14 thoughts on “Story? Novel? Book?

  1. Erin M says:

    First of all . . . Wow, congrats on the length! That’s dedication! I’ve only ever written one story over 100 000 words (and that took me years to do).

    I usually go back and forth between calling something I’m working on a “story” and a “novel” (or “novella,” as the case may be). I guess I use “story” most often, because I don’t know, when I start writing, how long any given piece is going to be. (Then when it’s done, I label it based on its length. Though I might still call it a story from time to time.)

    (Aside: Anything over 40 or 50 000 words, I call a novel, based on NaNoWriMo and Wikipedia definitions. Anything between 20 and 40/50 I call a novella.)

    Also, if I’m talking to other people (in the real world), I feel the teensiest bit pretentious if I say, “I’m working on a novel.” Usually if they ask what I’m doing, I’ll just say, “I’m writing.”

    Dunno if that was helpful . . .

    Again, congrats! And I hope the rest of your project goes brilliantly! Yay!

  2. Sevvy says:

    Regardless of the length, I’m always writing a story. But if someone asks me what I’m working on, I’d tell them a novel, because that’s what it is. It would be the same as me saying, “I’m working on a 85,000 word story”.

    I reserve book for published work, though, because book encompasses so much more than novels and stories.

  3. That’s great news Ilana. I wrote a book once and I called it that. Like you say, you’re writing a story but stories are usually in a book. I never did anything with mine. I just wrote it and it still sits in the binding. I never even went back and edited it. I just needed to get it out and once I did, I felt it was just for me so I never did anything with it.

    As far as writing for the blog. I just call those little tidbits posts. They really are nothing more than that. You give me inspiration to maybe write more.

    Please continue. I love reading the things you write.

  4. Mckenzie says:

    Wow. * Dances and throws confetti * LOOK at you, girly! You are on your way. I want a signed copy when you’re published and famous. Yes?

  5. Absolutely awesome with regards to your project! 🙂 As for labels, I can relate to how you feel. Only recently have I started saying, “I am writing a novel!” (Including the exclamation point, which really is neccessary.)

  6. coffeepearlsgrace says:

    Girl, that’s incredible! Good for you! And I think you need to call it whatever you want it to be when you finish. If you want it to be a novel, start calling it that now; it will help you maintain focus on your end goal, and the more you say it, the more comfortable you will become with that “label.” Keep up the good work! 🙂

  7. Lua says:

    100.000 words? Wow- that is impressive 🙂
    I call mine my “manuscript” and sometimes my novel, because in my mind it is a novel… but I don’t really worry about it, labels are labels and nothing more.
    “It’s okay to write things that stay in the closet and never leave, because they’re practice for those things that are good enough to show the world and be proud of.”
    I love this and totally agree with you!

  8. Desiree says:

    Wow.. Respect! That’s a lot of words! I hope the rest of your project goes great as well.

    I usually give my projects random names.. But I call them stories, yes.

  9. Woo-hoo. You’ve come far, and you definitely deserve an applause! *clap clap clap*

    For the label part, I reckon I won’t mind calling my piece a manuscript and once pretty much deep into it, I’d start calling a book as well 😉
    Hope that helps.

    -BrownEyed

  10. i definitely label. Most of the time they’re novels but that is precisely the reason I stick the title of “short story” on a short story. It’s different for me and I want to differentiate.

  11. Since I’m a short story writer, everything’s pretty much a ‘story’…

    But I have found that it’s helpful to avoid labeling a work in terms of length (flash, novella, etc), because they always end up surprising me by being longer or shorter than I think they will. 😛

    MAJOR CONGRATS on 100k words!! Holy COW! I’m seriously impressed. 🙂

  12. I usually say “novel” (because I have the whole finished story in my head and it’s in book form), but just recently (I think even in my post today) I called it a book. Wishful thinking, perhaps? I think YOU can call it whatever you please — you wrote 100,000 words (in two months?) woot woot!!!

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