Today I surpassed 70,000 words on my new novel, Motel Confessionals (working title). I mentioned last time that 70,000 is the goal for novels and 100,000 words is the standard cutoff point (my memoir is about 98,000 words). I expect to complete this first draft in the next couple of weeks.
It’s not just the word-count that get’s you there. “There” is that point when I can look at it all – the chapters themselves, the flow and arc of the story, and any other tidbits that might still need fleshing out – and tell myself that it’s done, that I’ve left the writing mode and have entered the editing mode (that’s how my process works, anyway).
Motel Confessionals is set in 2015 and tells the stories of people who stayed for a night, a week, or longer in a little motel in Louisiana (you can imagine where I took my inspiration). Below is an excerpt from the chapter, “Just Take Me to the Damned River,” as told by Julianne Landrineau, staying in Room 11 for two nights.
“Why you have to be making noise all the time?” he says. “Why can’t you just be quiet? You’re inserting yourself into my thoughts.”
Whoa. I don’t even want to imagine what was going on in that head of his. His thoughts? I had just spent three hours on my feet, cutting up vegetables, chopping onions, browning the meat, making a gravy. Mashed potatoes. Even made an apple pie; his favorite. Made that for him, because I really don’t like apple pie. It’s the cinnamon. Sometimes it works for me and other times, like in apple pie, it just strikes me the wrong way. So that pie was just for him.
Served him his dinner, all through which, he didn’t make a peep to me. Not “How was your day?” or “This is good, honey. Thanks for making me dinner.” Nothing. Next thing I know, I’m cleaning up – mind you, he never lifted a knife or fork to bring it to the sink, or bothered to scrape out his plate – and anyway, first thing I hear from him as I’m singing to myself and washing those dishes, his dishes, is him yelling at me to be quiet. I’m singing, for God’s sake. What the hell.
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Morris Ardoin’s book, STONE MOTEL – MEMOIRS of a CAJUN BOY can be purchased through the publisher, or on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indibound, and other booksellers, and is also available as an audiobook on Audible.