Sunday, June 04, 2006

Reality Check

Okay guys. From everything I've been reading, what we have here is a novella, a short novel. Unless I market it as Young Adult, I fear it will not be accepted as a full length novel. What to do, what to do. I wring my hands. I can either expand upon it to the tune of about 30,000 more words, ( a thought that does not thrill me) or I can try to find an agent or publisher to fit what I have.

While mulling it over today, I managed to get ideas for a few more scenes, mostly involving backstory. I did not include a terrible lot of that in my first draft, because frankly, I don't enjoy reading a lot of filler myself. It has to be something so connected to the main plot that it has purpose. I don't want readers leaving my book thinking, "Well, why didn't she just say so." On the other hand, I wouldn't want someone to pick up my thin volume off the book store shelf and think, "No way am I going to pay that for this little volume. I could finish that in a couple of hours." I would know exactly how they feel. What has taken me months to put together will be consumed in a couple hours. Have I given the reader enough to gnaw on, and not only gnaw on, but digest? That is the question.

So it's decision time. It's to the point where I am seeing the printed page in my sleep, but when I awake I could not tell you one word that I saw in my dream. I've read that your novel needs to cure a bit before you pick it back up and start the rewrite. But every time I think of something I want to fix, I rush to the computer to fix it. Right now, the draft I have saved on disk barely resembles the chapters I have, but at least if the computer crashes I'll have a framework to start with. I can't lose it all at this stage. That would break my heart I think.

I wonder if an author ever really lets their babies go. Do they, even after the book is in print, ever want to fix just one more thing? Oh to have that problem. Well, enough of that. What are you all into tonight?


tam said...

You are keeping the original rough draft without these last minute fixes untouched so far right?

I have found, well, for me only, that those are the fixes I wish I had not made. If you aren't saving the "original" then you aren't but this would be the time for second guessing that could be detrimental which is why they say "let it cure".

Quite often if you let it pick it back up and you see for yourself how good it really is.

Have you considered a trial run or market test? (this is truly not selfish thinking...I do know of some authors who have done this)

What about just running with the next story, put this one in the proverbial drawer to allow it to season and in the meantime begin searching publishers while getting the next one focused on and done?

If this is your time to get published and it is God's will then it will be so. No matter how many rejections or polite turndowns or "not right now's" that you receive. Trust in Him who has gotten you thus far. He can get you through the rest of it too.

I'll be praying for peace of mind, no doubt, and wisdom on who to approach, and what to do next.

Mike Goodwin said...

I think that is only natural, not only with a project like yours, but with just about everything we do. "I should have added this or did this differently." I would go with what you have. Kind of like a first instinct thing. IMHO, of course. :-)

Praying for your Prodigal said...

"Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. ~ from the movie Finding Forrester"

Good Morning!

From visiting your site--I went to Vicki's blog--I know you visit there: ( this quote. Seemed appropriate!

You are uncovering the deep layers of publishing--thanks for sharing them with us! We're on your side....patiently waiting and praying as you navigate through this next process called re-writing!


Annette Burkett said...

I don't know much about writing novels, but I do have a friend that is working on a book. It seems like what her first instinct to write is good and what she wants to change it to doesn't have the same impact. Several times I've told her to leave it alone!

It must be the same way with everyone who is creative. I know that with drawing or painting, sometimes I don't know when to stop and leave it alone. My art teacher always said you can overdo it and add too much. In my own eyes I still think it needs more or a little touch up here or there.

Magnolia said...

You edit, looking for grammar mistakes, places where it's slow or not keeping with the plot etc. but while you're doing that....

If you're going with an agent, you go ahead and contact an agent by query letter (or whatever their instructions tell you to do). Most of them ask for a synopsis and the first three chapters either with the query or later.

If you choose not to go with an agent, aach publisher is different. Different word counts. I once read a book that was a mainstream, best selling novel and it didn't have a high word count.

Plus, how did you do your word count? By what the word count feature shows? The rule of thumb is to count it as 250 per page so then ten pages would equal 2,500 words rather than your Word count of.. say 2,200.

In Word, go to format, paragraph, line spacing, exactly 25. (or that's how my Word is set up--I have 98 though so yours might be different.)

If you go with an agent, on Preditors and Editors, check to make sure they aren't listed with 'not recommended' after their name.

Never, ever pay a reading fee.

I'm a believer that as writers, we write the best novel we can and then we edit. Sometimes, the letting go of our 'baby' is harder than writing it.

But I would edit and send it.

As soon as I did that, I'd start on the next one.

You've done something some people only dream of doing...written that novel!

C. H. Green said...

Well, I've seen several formulas for word count, and even inquired of an editor about it. I've had conflicting information. I used the machine count get the 57,000 number. What margins do you use to use your formula? I have 319 pages in double spaced Courier font with one inch margins around-- except for the right margin which I have at 1.5 because I read that some editors like room to comment.
Help me out here. I'd really like a realistic idea of where I stand.