Monday, August 25, 2008

Disappointed in the revisions

Having just completed the most recent round of revisions on what I'd hoped would be my next novel, I have to admit that disappointed isn't even the right word. Even though I did add a lot, I also cut out some stuff that didn't seem to be working.

As a result, I fell well short of the 80,000 words I was shooting for. I'm sure that even if I have people read it before I actually start to submit it, they aren't going to find enough places to add the kind of wordage that I would it looks like I'm stuck with a novella.

Now I just have to figure out where I can actually submit a novella...yeah, more than a little disappointed.

The actual final count:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55,392 / 80,000


Keith said...

I've been reading books by name brand writers. All seem to be 200k and over. All of them are full of air (hot mostly).

If you want to write like that (and I don't think that you do) just describe each scene to death. Every rock and leaf and smell on the breeze is described, even it is not important to the plot. The overall effect is that you have a very rich sense of the moment. But this kills the pacing.

Readers don't seem to mind that much. I, though, much prefer the thin novels of the 1950s to the fat novels of the 90s, but there is something to be said for living in the richer world that you get with the heaps of words in the longer books.

I have plotted out a few novels, but never finished one. I pumped up the content by adding characters and plot lines that eventually intersect near the end so the book can keep a fast pace. You have to use alternating chapters (like in the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars books), but at least it doesn't feel like miles of useless description to wade through.

Lawrence Dagstine said...

I think a lot of authors fall short of the 80,000 word mark. The same almost happened to me when I self-published my western novel four years ago; although I pushed it to 80,000 then, I look now and realize it could use a razor-sharp edit of at least 8000 to 10,000 words.

By the way, congratulations on the recent panel with Larry Niven. I added you to favorite authors.

Just wondering, where do you get one of those word count widgets? I've been looking all over the web for one compatible with Wordpress.



J Erwine said...

Keith-I tend to agree with you. I liked the shorter novels that weren't full of flowery language. That's pretty much how I write. There are certainly some long novels that have a decent amount of description, and are quite readable...the early works of Dan Simmons come to mind...but a lot of today's novels are too wordy.
My novels tend to be plotted just as you described with alternating chapters for different characters...all coming together in the end.

Lawrence-Thanks for stopping by. The Niven panel was a lot of fun. If you click on that little widget, it will take you right to their website. Not sure how it works on Wordpress, but I know it works a lot better on LiveJournal than it does on Blogger.