Is Bigger Better?

Saturday, December 01, 2018
Ultimately, my question is this: Is bigger better? In context, I'm really thinking about word count for a novel. This post comes at the perfect time as we just wrapped up NaNoWriMo yesterday. I'll be honest, I fell short...but don't worry, I'm going to keep writing even though it's no longer November. Who decides the perfect length of a novel anyway? It bigger better? Is there a place for short stories?

As you ponder some of those questions, I want to tell you about Tom the Turkey who inspired today's post. I committed to purchasing a farm fresh turkey from a friend. We made the verbal arrangement in the spring when neither of us knew how much Tom the turkey was going to weigh or how much the local butcher was going to charge to do all the stuff that needs to be done between farm and freezer (I'll spare you the details). 2 weeks before Thanksgiving she text me the news:

Turkeys are freezing right main man Tom was 40lbs...we are doing $3/lb - should I drop him off Friday with your eggs?
Young Tom

I was super happy she hadn't called me. I think it took a few moments for me to catch my breath. I
hadn't intended on spending $120.00 on just the turkey for Thanksgiving and I couldn't even wrap my head around how big a 40lb turkey was going to be. All I was thinking was "where will I get the money?" mixed with "I think our 5 year old weighs about that much...I know for sure the 2 youngest girls weigh less than that" and a few cuss words.

I text back that I'd have the money ready and she could drop him off with the eggs. Then I headed down to the barn to freak the freak out with my husband.

When she dropped Tom off, I had to have hubby help maneuver him into the freezer. It was at that moment I realized the Tom the Turkey stress had only just begun. Here's a few things I learned:

1) You have to start thawing a 40lb turkey 10-11 days before Thanksgiving (hopefully you have a spare refrigerator because a 40lb turkey will take up most of your fridge)

2) Your average Nesco or traditional roasting pan will accommodate a 20lb turkey at best

3) A pan large enough for a 40lb turkey weighs nearly 20lbs

4) If you cook a 40lb turkey, it's recommended to cook it breast down to keep it moist, but this doesn't give the desired "picture perfect" turkey as the end result
Not a Knight in Shining Armor - Just a Turkey in Tinfoil!

4) If you wrap your 40lb turkey in tin foil it will take an entire roll

5) If you bake a 40lb turkey at 350F you'll want to start right cooking it 12-14 hours before you plan on service it

6) If you bake a 40lb turkey in a 20lb pan and add enough water to keep it moist, you'll need help getting everything into the oven, so don't preheat the oven

7) If you bake a 40lb turkey in a 20lb pan and add enough water to keep it moist and make gravy, you'll need help getting the pan out of the oven and that bugger is gonna be hot hot hot, so make sure your muscle bound friend or lover is available

8) If you bake a 40lb turkey in your oven, you'll have to think of alternative places to cook the rest of the holiday fixings, and if you opt for devices like Instant Pots, roasters, crock pots, etc... you may want to make sure you don't blow a fuse

Now - the lesson of Tom the Turkey has me thinking that bigger may not necessarily be better. stories go, this is going to be a good one and my children will tell their children and Tom the Turkey will be infamous with our family, so maybe bigger is better? He was delicious by the way, and all the trouble was worth it! (Although - next year I'll be purchasing a 19lb Butterball turkey from the local grocery store)

Hopefully you've had a little chuckle for the day. Here comes the Q&A section of today's post:

-Would you rather read a longer book or a shorter one?

-Do you like any particular series of shorter books? Which ones and why?

-How did you do with this years NaNoWriMo? Did you hit your 50,000 words?

-Do you have a favorite book that is really quite long but still well done? Spill it - which book and why?

-What's a fun Thanksgiving story in your family? Do you have your own "Tom the Turkey" tale?

Thanks for being here today - ya'all are great! Winter is setting in the corner of my little cornfield (and the corn is in the silo) and I'm thankful for so much - including the opportunity to write and promote books with WOW!

Crystal is a secretary, council secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children (Carmen 11, Andre 10, Breccan 5, Delphine 3, and baby Eudora who somehow turned 1 a few weeks ago), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff here, and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!


S. L. Danielson said...

I've never even cooked a turkey much less the behemoth that you had! Good gracious! I'm sure you had leftovers for days.

As for the books; I like shorter books; novella length is ideal.
Longer books are great too but require more concentration that I'm capable of at the moment.

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo said...

Hi Crystal,

This post had me howling. :D I never even cook the whole turkey, I just cheat and buy a turkey breast (I do bake pies though!)

The trend toward higher word counts bothers me. I like both short and long books, but I think a lot of long books could be shorter. If the story has multiple characters and storylines it makes sense that it's lengthy, but otherwise I'd love to see slimmer novels (and more novellas). The best book I've read in years is Samanta Schweblin's Fever Dream and it's not even 200 pages long.

I'd love to hear more about your WIP! :)

Crystal Otto said...

Elizabeth - so good to hear from you....I'll hopefully have more information about my WIP early next year and I'll keep you posted! Glad you found some humor in my post, it certainly was a holiday to remember!

S.L - thank you for your comments, I'm starting to think novella may be the key for my short attention span!!


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