Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How Long Should A Novel Really Be?

Now that I'm in the full thralls to my book, I've recently been doing a lot of research on how long a novel should be, and am finding that word count appears to be a very confusing yet highly important topic.

There a numerous guidelines out there on this subject.  One source will tell you that anything over 40,000 words is considered a novel, yet others advise that you to have 50,000, 80,000, 100,000 and more.   No wonder new writers are perplexed!  And you can't simply ignore this issue either.  National Novel Writing Month requires that a novel be at least 50,000 words.  Yet some agents/publishers won't even read your work if it's not a certain word length (70,000-80,000 for example).  I actually can understand the theory behind this, knowing that once you are lucky enough to start going through the editing phase with a publisher, a huge chunk of your work is going to end up on the cutting room floor.  So where on earth do you begin, and more importantly where do you end?

Well, I found many examples that both support and contradict the above word count statements.  According to Indefeasible, a blogger who has done quite extensive research on the the topic, some of the greats tally in on the low end such as:  Fahrenheit 451 (46,118 words), Slaughterhouse-Five (49,459 words), The Color Purple (66,556 words), and The Sun Also Rises (67,707 words).  Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum you have Lonesome Dove (365,712 words), Atlas Shrugged (561,996), and of course I'd be remiss not to mention War and Peace (587,287 words).

So in looking at all of these mind-blowing figures I have come to the final conclusion that I will just write my book and see where it ends up.  Having just recently surpassed the 55,000 word mark, and knowing that I still have a little more story in me to go, I'm pretty confident that I'll end up with at least the minimum amount of words.  Then, once I am finished, I will go back and polish until I am satisfied that it is indeed "done".  I'm going to go with the theory that too much is better than too little.  While I'm not going to add a bunch of fluff just for the sake of word count, if there is something I feel I can add that might enhance the story, then I will add it.  It can always be cut later.

So off I go again, pounding out those words and ideas in the early morning hours before work and in the evening hours if I have anything left in me.  If at anytime you'd like to track my progress, I have added a word count progress bar on the right side of my blog with a loosely estimated "target" of 70,000 words.

Happy writing fellow authors and thank you for your support future readers!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Things That Make You Go Hmmm -- The Barber Pole

Okay, I learned something very interesting the other day.  "What might that be?" you ask.  Well, I've been reading this book entitled "The Inheritor's Powder:  A Tale of Arsenic, Murder and the New Forensic Science", and although I'm only 50 pages into it, I'm already finding out some interesting tidbits, so I wanted to share some information that surprised me.  Anyway, you know how a barber pole is red and white (sometimes red, white and blue too), well do you know what those red and white colors stand for?  Ready?  Blood and bandages.  "What?" you say.  Well, it's not from getting a nick from a shave.  You see, a long, long time ago, back in the 15th century, apparently surgeons and barbers had a fabulous idea to come together and form a company.  With this new pairing, they did everything from give you a haircut to minor surgical procedures such as bloodletting.  (Bloodletting by the way, is when they drained your blood to rid you of disease.)  I know, hard to believe.  Can you imagine -- "Uh, yes, I'd like to schedule a surgical procedure next week and while you're at it, can you give me a trim?"  Aah!  And we think people now days are crazy?  Just look at some of our ancestors.  Fortunately at some point in time, this coupling of professions split and went their separate ways.  Whew.

Now, I wonder what little treasures I'll find out next. . . .

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Writing Update - Hit 51,000 Words!

In an attempt to keep myself accountable and propelling forward, I am happy to post that I hit 51,000 words on my book this weekend.  Hope to keep up this momentum.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review Time - Can't Buy Me Love

I received this book free through a Goodreads giveaway and regret to give it only 2.5 stars.  It's a quick read coming in at 267 pages and while it did have some nice aspects about it, I unfortunately just didn't love this book.  It's a unique idea to use the Freegan lifestyle as part of the story, and has enlightened me on the subject.  But to give some constructive criticism, I thought for this size book there were far too many characters.  I had a hard time remembering who was who.  What added to this frustration for me was the use of similar names.  For example, Perla and Percy, who were in the same woman's group.  Their names being so similar I would have to pause to remember who each one was.  Likewise, Ma and Mom (the one character's two mothers).  I thought it would have helped if she used distinctive nicknames for them.  Another thing that I personally struggled with was the numerous foreign words and phrases.  Not knowing the language, I unfortunately felt as though I was missing parts of the story and thereby disrupting its flow.  The book also felt overly busy mentioning so many underlying topics and viewpoints that I believe it took away from the truly charming part of the story.  I felt that it was almost there, but fell slightly short.

I hope that the author takes this review in the spirit it has been given, because I commend and congratulate her for being published and acknowledge the time and effort she put forth in telling this story.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Quote of the Day

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” 

― Albert Einstein

Friday, July 5, 2013

Publishing Date - "The Collector"

I'm happy to announce that August 21st will be the publishing date of my next story, "The Collector".  I am honored to once again be paired with the talented James Brown who illustrated my story, "Saving Sylvia" earlier this year.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Finally, A New Scene!

So, for the first time since we moved this winter, I was finally able to pound out a new scene for my book, and I can't begin to tell you how good this feels!  I'm elated.  It has given me a new energy that I desperately needed.  Did I have a case of writer's block you ask?  Well, I wouldn't necessarily call it that, because I was able to continue writing flash fiction pieces, but what I think happened instead, is that I just got out of my groove.  Like any habit, good or bad, it can be broken.  With all of the selling and moving across the country, it was very hard for me to focus on the big project, so I elected to keep my imagination fresh with the smaller projects.  Make sense?   Anyway, I really, really, really want to finish my book this year, and I am posting this to try to make myself accountable.  So now I just need to redevelop my good writing habits and forge ahead!  Wish me luck . . . .