I have been writing for most of my life – all of my adult life and some before that.
As I’ve said earlier, I’ve finished five novels. I have two I regard as active works in progress. But a quick and dirty survey of my folders found me nine major projects, six of which were over 10,000 words.
Average length of my unfinished non active projects was 15,000 words, but only one is over 25,000 words.
This is about what I was expecting. 25,000 words seems to be a mental ‘switchover’ point. Up to there, there’s not enough work in a story for it to to be ‘I must finish this or I’m wasting months of work.’
Once a story breaks about 25 to 30 thousand words, it will tend to get finished – its built up enough inertia that the story should stick around in my head until its done. I’m currently focusing on trying to get Shadows of the Grey Tower past that point as I try to get myself writing again after my move and the inherent break in writing that came with it.
I suspect every writer has an ‘inertia point,’ the point at which a novel is too far along to be abandoned. Based off my survey, mine is about 25000 words. Obviously, inertia points are irrelevant to a published author – if you’ve contracted for the book, you have to finish it. But even then, a writer will have side projects (or, so far as I can imagine, start to hate writing). Anything can be abandoned – most amateur authors I know have just as bad of a ‘graveyard’ as I do – but when its past a point, it seems such a waste.
And 25,000 words kinda makes sense. For me, that’s a month or two of writing. It’s about a quarter of my 100,000 word goal for most books. Knowing that this exist, of course, means that its always an idea to force myself past it.
(Which may move the inertia point *grin* The mind and creativity are a fickle thing like that!)