Monday, October 6, 2008

family and writing and whatnot - in that order.

Hailie here had her first high-school homecoming last Friday. Ain't she purty? I'm proud as all heck of this kid, because she has crafted for herself an outstanding high-school experience. Her grades are good, she's in choir, creative writing and cheerleading, her friends all seem to have their heads screwed on straight (with one exception), and the love of her life is about as gentle and non-threatening as a high-school boy could be. That last one goes a long way to easing my nuerosis and despair.

Click here to see her myspace. She has pictures of cheerleading, pictures of the famous Mr. Don, and more of her homecoming. I also like the way she describes herself.

Fiersom's Brood update: I think my wordcount is killing me -- 115,000 . Now I'm not one of those people who're scared to cut; I believe in it with all my heart. But I'm not finding anything to take out of this book. Seriously. There's no wasteful writing, no unneccesary scenes or chapters, and no more 'needless words and phrases' (Strunk & White). I've edited it over and over, and believe it or not, it keeps getting longer. That's thanks to my beta readers. They kept wanting more clarification and explanation for the freaky plot twists. Bottom line: it's just a long story. I could deflate some scenes, do more telling and less showing, but I don't think it would net me any more than 5000 words. Still too long. Anybody else have this problem? What did you do? How long are your MS's and WIP's?

So. It might be a black mark, but there are lots of exceptions to the word count rule. Hopefully some intuitive agent will take a chance. Because guess what? I've started querying. That's right.



Carrie Harris said...

I'm writing YA, so I'm all about the short and sweet thing. My last manny was about 65,000.

But who cares about that? CONGRATS on the Big Query Leap. Got fingers and toes crossed for you.

Ray Veen said...

Way to go with the toe-crossing, Carrie, I just got a request for a full - on only my fifth query.

So yeah, keep 'em crossed.

shortensweet said...

Your daughter was amazing Saturday. She looked so pretty, this picture does her no justice. She was very sweet and loving and Don seemed almost in awe that his girl was so amazing, he very shyly gave her a pretty coursage. I can't lie, I got tears in my eyes. I was proud of her being so pretty and grown up, and also sad because she's so pretty and grown up..bitter sweet.

Speaking of sweet..wtg on the full manny! I'll keep my legs crossed too (wait..that didn't sound very good)

CJ, The Purple Diva said...

Beautiful daughter. So glad she had such a good time!

VeeFlower said...

What a beautiful girl, and so together. I am prouder than I can even express. Our first teenager in this generation, and she is blowing us away! When I see her cheerleading I just can't beleive that is our little peanut.

Having a good guy at her side will really help her in every way, especially since she had to kiss a few toads first, and can appreciate getting a good guy!

But whoa, BPV, I have some typos from my reading of FB, you didn't wait for me!? Congrats on the request for the full manuscript, just hope you caught those little tiny typos yourself when you did the line edit.

Ray Veen said...

Jamie, CJ, and Veeflower - Thank you for your discernment and good taste. I wasn't sure at first, but you've all managed to convince me: Hailie is a beautiful girl.

And Veeflower - I had a half dozen folks list typos for me. You were supposed to identify the exact twenty-five thousand words that need to be removed. Any progress on that?

Jewel Allen said...

Your daughter is beautiful!

Well, if you are getting requests for full on your word count, I wouldn't worry about it. Congratulations and Good luck!

Carrie Harris said...

Yay for the full request!

bunnyjo georg said...

('scuse me if I'm redundant here....didn't read comments above....again)

How long is a Harry Potter book? How many words, I mean? I think that big fat books in your genre are more the rule than the exception. And the thing is, kids aren't afraid of those big thick books either. Grace hauled them back and forth from school all last year and read till her eyes almost fell out.

My other thought is: there's a lot of fat that can be cut. While you say there are no needless words or phrases, all authors feel that way. Oftentimes, rewriting a sentence with different phrasing will net a savings of three to five words PER SENTENCE. Sometimes it is only one word, other times it is seven or eight, but I would say the average is 3 to 5.

I'm really busy so I have to go now. I'm interested though in editing, but you'd have to obligations and such.

Ray Veen said...

Pink - Thank you for your discernment and good taste.

Carrie - Thanks again for the good luck.

Bunny - I'm sure I could find a few more words here and there, but you know, I have been through it multiple times. I HAVE cut words from pretty much every sentence in the book. If I were to find more, I doubt there would be enough to significantly impact my overall word count.

You've gotta read this thing for me. Shorty should be done with her copy soon.


I'm not completely worried about the length (plenty of YA books are indeed that long), but it would be an easier sell if it were shorter.

I'm half expecting this agent - if he did offer representation - to make it contingent on lowering the word count. So at this point I'm contemplating cutting fairly major characters and converting some lively, present 'showing' scenes to 'telling' scenes. In other words - narrative summary.


colbymarshall said...

What is your genre? For commercial fic I usually come in right around the 80k mark...

Elizabeth said...

Mine tend to be to short rather than too long.
But good luck, I doubt you'll need it though as your query letter's sound great (previous post).

Your daughter is a Q-T!

VeeFlower said...

Okay, you asked for it. I would leave out ONE "rescue" chapter. If you HAVE to cut something, only IF. Because they keep trying to rescue someone who tells them not to. They are great chapters with clever devices, it would be a horrible sacrifice...but I would hate to see you get rid of any of those cool characters. You might also think about the first chapter, set up the story in one or two pages instead of including so much info about a situation Noah is leaving and people we will not hear from again....? Okay, I will go to my room now. Really, I know little or nothing about what to do about your word count except I was going to say what Bunnyjo said and I wanted an opinion of my own.

Vikki said...

BPV, your daughter is so lovely! And very chic. I love the dress!

My word count is always ridiculous. I think my first book was 120 and cutting it down to 100 was like plucking every single arm hair using the teeth of an angry badger. It totally sucked. I had to scrap an entire subplot. Made me very sad :>(