Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Full of pauses and nothings

When I sat down to commit to the sci fi novel rewrite, I did so somewhat purely. And by that I mean I had no plan for where I would submit it, how, why, etc. The story wasn't strong enough, I felt, primarily, so thinking about places to send it was moot. But I did assume that once I was done, I would have somewhere to submit it.

I finished the rewrite. It fell 5,000 words short of my initial goal of 90,000, but even then it is still almost half again as long as the other books I have out in the aether mingling on virtual shelves. I felt good about that fact. I felt good about a lot of things, especially the new ideas that started flowing after I had this project out of the way. When I sat down to finally look for publishers to submit my work to, my eyes were opened again.

According to this website, the landscape has changed. Some places, known for years for producing entire series of door-stop novels, are only taking short stories, for the foreseeable future, it seems. Other places still insist a book isn't a book if it isn't 100,000 words. Right off the bat my search revealed that my novel was too long for some places, and too short for others. It was perplexing, because up to this point I had been indirectly informed that my writing was too brief, or rather, lacked word count. My search continues to this day, but I'd be lying if it hasn't become distracted.

I assumed some companies are working shorter in response to the tablet age, where everything is immediate, and expectations have grown faster. I wouldn't necessarily disagree, that for most longer novels, a good quarter of it is stuffy filler. I decided that if push came to shove, my book ranged from 5,000 too heavy or too light, but beyond that I would be guilty of scathing away too much for things to make sense or padding the book to reach a quota. And like I said, I came to this in an effort to write a great novel, and the words I included are more or less the words I think should be present.

Which is not to say that I think it's perfect. I deeply agree with the premise of editing, and have seen all my published works improved by the process. But to get edited, a book needs to be accepted, and to get accepted, it seems like there have to be a certain number of words met. So here I am. It's possible I may have leapt before I looked.