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Halloween Eve

Things I have learned in the last day or two:

I have to keep the front door open at night or the cats will DEMAND to be let in all night long so they can look out the open window.

291,614 words is too long for a novel. I was so busy worrying that it wasn't long enough to be a novel I apparently made it too long for a publisher to be seriously interested. Time to get ruthless with the cutting. {Actually able to laugh at self over this brief setback.}


See rahirah's journal for information about the Schnepf Farms outing.

I cannot BELIEVE I left off two very important top picks for re-issues/compilations of 2005, those being Turn Back The Years - The Essential Hank Williams and The Legend of Johnny Cash. The latter is a tremendous collection, where they were SOMEHOW able to condense the entirety of Cash's overwhelming 5-decade career into one 21-song disc. I do not envy the position of the person who had to chose those 21 songs. Lots of omissions, of course, but I think they managed to really capture the best of the best for it, and it's a great collection for anyone just starting a Cash collection, since it has songs spanning his career from first single (Cry! Cry! Cry!) to last (Hurt). I actually need to buy the Hank 3-disc set, because the label sent out promotional discs that were handmade burns (with felt-tip writing on them to tell which was which) and Disc Two is corrupted from track 11 onward (fortunately, I do know all the songs).

I'm not precisely sure when I became a Johnny Cash fanatic, but I think it happened sometime in the two years before his death. I mean, I had grown up with him, knew all his hits, but it was just after the release of "Solitary Man" that I went Cash Nuts. Heck, I owe him my entire book.

Tomorrow I shall be a vampire during the day (I found a pair of kinky boot beasts that look like something Drusilla would have worn), and change into an intrepid zombie hunter at night for handing out the candy. We have Shaun of the Dead, Shallow Grave, and Poltergeist for our Halloween watching pleasure.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

You Are 63% American
Most times you are proud to be an American.
Though sometimes the good ole US of A makes you cringe
Still, you know there's no place better suited to be your home.
You love your freedom and no one's going to take it away from you!



Back to the cutting room.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
doll_paparazzi
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:29 am (UTC)
Hmmm...so who told you that your novel was too big? And are you counting like in MS Word count or are you counting like novelist do (there is a way you are supposed to count with averages...it was explained to me a few times but heq if I can explain it here). I am really curious.

How many pages is your novel (at what font size)?

Currently I'm at...er...177 pages, font 10, courier. I know I'm supposed to use 12 point, but I want to be able to view my book on my screen in a certain way. I'm only about halfway through the book. You're comment sort of made me NERVOUS...I was told for fantasy, there isn't a limit.
wildrider
Oct. 31st, 2005 05:05 am (UTC)
An editor who's kind enough to be willing to help me pitch it to her employers (a reasonably major fantasy press). I use the Word Perfect word count, but when I told her it was 900 pages double-spaced (yes, 12-point), I think I may have caused a minor heart attack. Most houses, she told me, won't look at anything more than 150,000 words for a first-time novelist, simply because of the cost of paper. Probably there is no limit if you're lucky enough to be writing another Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but since mine is a glorified vampire romance novel, I think I'll take her advice and start the trimming.

She told me most first-novel submissions run between 100,000 to 150,000 words, around 450 to 500 manuscript pages (which means double-spaced, with header, 12-point; I'm using Times New Roman).

doll_paparazzi
Oct. 31st, 2005 05:56 am (UTC)
Nine hundred pages? Wow...that IS huge. I have to agree with her...that sounds HUGE. Maybe you can break that book into two instead of cutting massive chunks out of it. Sounds like such a waste of your time by writing it, then having to cut it back. :/

Why did you think it wasn't big enough? Size matters, huh? ;)

Wow...nine hundred. I'm still trying to get over that one.

Yeah, mine is double-spaced. I will change it to 12 point courier once I am done. Right now I am using 10 because of my eyes mostly. The writer's guidelines tells you to use courier (at least the one my best friend had...I don't have it handy) or a courier type font. It seems pretty boring, but the publication book my best friend had also says to change all thoughts to underlines (I have them italics for my writer's group...what a waste of my time to switch back and forth!) and they have ALL sorts of fun publisher changes. If you are going to go through your manuscript, you may want to ask your friend if you need to change anything else at the same time (i.e. don't freaken listen to me...ask her to see if you need to change the formating of your book because I might be full of shit). Save yourself some time and just do it all at the same time. ;)

Mine will probably be in the 400-500 page range, though I am doing my best to keep it sleek. It's easy to drop off on a tangent and bla-blah-BLAH for me. So, I'm just heading full speed ahead.

That's your cowboy vampire novel, right? Good luck with that! I hope you get through with it and get it published. You deserve it...especially after nine hundred freaken pages. :)
wildrider
Oct. 31st, 2005 12:03 pm (UTC)
Well, it wasn't nine hundred pages while I was working on it. I work in single space draft format, so I didn't realize it was that long until I changed the formating and added the header -- in single spacing it's about 490 pages. I was going on word count, and 150,000 didn't seem that long to me. ;) Besides, once I got going on story, I just wasn't thinking anymore about length, I just wanted all the parts I wanted IN there. I'd already chopped out all the flashbacks on rahirah's advice, but the subplot had been grafted in on sillymagpie's advice, and I'd come to adore my secondary characters almost as much as the primary ones.

My editor friend did suggest the cutting it into two books, but I can't figure out where I'd make that kind of change. Either unweaving my subplot from the main plot or shifting one of the sub-climaxes to be a main climax both sound even more daunting to me than just making judicial cuts. If I just whacked it in half it wouldn't be self-contained, and a first novel really should be self-contained.

Still, it's nice to have the advice BEFORE I submitted it. This way I didn't get a flat "no thanks" after surprising the heck out of someone in the mail room... :)
doll_paparazzi
Oct. 31st, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
Hmmm...I would go with the sub-plot myself. Pull that out as the "second" book because that sounds REALLY cool if it can stand by itself that is. I can't imagine being able to cut out massive amounts of writing in order to cut back THAT much stuff. I mean...you'd have to cut out half the book in order to get it down to how she's talking.

Yeah...flashbacks are usually a no-no supposedly. I was just told by MY bestest critic (my co-hort Tom) that writing in 3rd person omnipotent is amiturish...I had been writing 3rd person limited until my LAST chapter and he just whacked me over the head like it was a newspaper and I was a dog. Ack. I think you will always find books on writing, and each freaken one will have a NEW rule, like, "Never use the word "bubba"" and you will just around like a chicken with your head cut off going, "But I just wrote 500 pages and used bubba! How can I replace that word? After awhile, I just balance out who is telling me what and why.

And DON'T forget...she is only ONE person (this editor friend). If you get rejected by her, there is an entire Writer's Guideline book of publishers to look through. Don't you DARE give up. If rahirah doesn't motivate you to send in your book to others, then I will (and I'm sure she will, along with sillymagpie! I mean...you took the time to write the book, what's a few more hours creating a synposis(ies?) and letters, pitching it, right? :)

What are friends for? :D
wildrider
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know everyone has an opinion, and I'm usually pretty good about picking and chosing who and what to listen to. I've been writing for a couple of decades, after all, even if it has been fanfic and hasty stories for Duelmasters (at least in the latter case I got paid, if only a pittance).

Thing about cutting/giving the subplot its own book is it's so deeply intertwined. Cody and Matt have their own story, true, but it's tightly connected to Sean Patrick and Della's, especially when it comes to the climax. If they aren't there, my villain loses his bargaining chip and both Sean Patrick and Della die because Matt isn't there to do what he does (although they might not be in that position if Matt wasn't there in the first place...). Now, SOME of Matt & Cody's relationship can easily be moved to the second book, because the second book does actually focus more on them, so rather than extracting their entire story, a number of their scenes can be deleted and transfered, with some re-writes, to Book Two (which is untitled at the moment).

I actually am looking at this whole exercise as a challenge. I wrote a book--I actually finished it, completed a second draft, entered it in a contest and won a prize, and now the hard part begins. :) I'm proud of it and I'm proud of myself for having done it. I've finished a lot of major works before, even got so far as submitting queries, but this one is the first time I'm actually doing follow-up. It's gonna get done.


doll_paparazzi
Oct. 31st, 2005 11:45 pm (UTC)
See, I am looking at it as a business thing for you. If you can break it in two that TWO books you can get paid for. More money for you! If you just cut stuff out, that's one book you get paid for...it's just a matter of how much MORE work is it and how does it affect your finished product? Can you tweak that subplot enough to make it stand on it's own and have it not affect your first novel?

I can totally see your point, but I can't imagine having to cut at least 400+ pages off your book either in order to bring it into what they are looking for either without losing something humongous. I mean, I haven't read your book, but that's 35%-40% (I'm horrible at math) of your book. I would think its easier to remove a sub-plot than descriptions or chapters, but who knows. You know better than I do.

When I write, I have stuff inter-woven, but I write pretty slim in the first place, with a specific page goal/outline idea, so it's hard for me to tell you how I would cut back after I've organized a book. I've already plotted it all out, I would have to replot probably and remove elements if I were asked to reduce the size of my book to have it make sense...but that's just me.

I know you've been writing for decades...so have I. Unfortunately you've not seen most of my stuff. Most of mine was published in other holts, other fandoms, zines, etc. I wrote screenplays, animation scripts and have been published in magazines as well. Nothing too major (mostly how to articles and I actually had a book at a publisher that went belly up about 10 years ago). But I don't know YOU very well, Kats. I mean...I KNOW you, but I don't know if the slightest thing will distract or bug you. And I would hate to distract you. I'd rather help you. So, if I should shut the hell up now, let me know! :)
wildrider
Nov. 1st, 2005 05:13 am (UTC)
Oh, I understand the business angle, believe me. It's just this one story doesn't feel, to me, like two books. The subplot doesn't stand on its own -- if I remove it, I'd have to do some serious dancing to get the main plot to stand on its own, and vice-versa. But again, I think removing a good many Matt & Cody scenes to the next book would work dandy, as the second book already focuses more on them, anyway. But if their plot isn't featured prominently in the first book, then the main plot won't go nowhere. Judicious cutting will work better in the long run than trying to re-write the whole thing so it's two stand-alone books.

Especially since book two is already started. :)

wildrider
Nov. 1st, 2005 05:15 am (UTC)
Oh, and you can chatter about writing all you want. I enjoy it. :) I don't really have too many people I can talk about my stuff with, and it's what I really want to talk about.

doll_paparazzi
Nov. 1st, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hey, cool! I always worry about that, because I've now had two (count them) TWO bad experiences with people that told me they were writers and then, they didn't want to really discuss any sort of writing at all other than they were GREAT writers. Heh.

And not that I know everything...or that my opinion is the only one or perfect. Mine is just one sided and often VERY baised based off weird experiences. You can always blow me off. I don't mind...I'll grumble a bit, but I respect you at least talking to me and doing the back and forth stuff.

Glad to hear you already have book two in the works! I'm so glad in general you are working on pro stuff. No offense, but it saddens me when my friends gets bogged down in fandom. So many people are SO great. It took me YEARS to get out of fandom...I got out 15 year ago, and then I fell back into it because it was safe. I am SO proud of you and others when I see people writing their novel! Yeay! :) Keep it going!
wildrider
Nov. 2nd, 2005 12:04 am (UTC)
I wouldn't blow you off. :) I might not take every suggestion, but I listen to everyone's opinions, because that's how to make it all better all around. I might grumble when I get commentary, but at least it's commentary. I'll always remember something one of my college writing teachers told me. He gruffly glared across the table at me and said, "You're a great writer. Unfortunately, you write crap." That was his opinion of the fantasy/romance I wrote. I didn't know who he was at the time, but I later learned that Edward Abbey was an author of some significance. As such, the backhanded compliment has been stored for all time in my memory. :)

Oh, I'm sure I'll still write fanfic once in a while. I love those characters just as much; after all, they're my originals, too, whether they exist in a world I own or not.
doll_paparazzi
Nov. 2nd, 2005 12:48 am (UTC)
I promised myself to finish my novel and submit it. THEN if I feel like it, I MIGHT write a fanfic. I'm just afraid of getting all wrapped up into the fanfic.

And my characters, at least my main ones, have very specific roots in my fan writings. My novel is about elves...or at least the "sidh", but my own spin on them and the main character is my typical "why doesn't anyone ever like me?" elf who changes over the course of time. It's actually been a really interesting experience because while I have written a crap load over time, I have NEVER sat down and writing an entire 500+ story arch and that's THAT. You know what I mean? I'm at 175 and I SO want to start a new novel (not that I am bored or anything, but because I'd like to start something new). It's hard for me to stay focused.
wildrider
Nov. 2nd, 2005 05:13 am (UTC)
Me, I have a hard time letting go of certain characters, so their stories will continue in my head until they go away. Many times they come back, but that initial burst -- WHAM! Sean Patrick & Company have been taking mainstage in my brain since mid-2003. It just keeps growing!

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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