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Thread: A decisive question

  1. #26
    Nom Nom Fish AGragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callalily61 View Post
    A friendly warning. This:



    Is a fallacy. It's the kind of remark some writers make who think that if a book is successful, then the author has "sold out." You know, "true art" is above all those mundane things like paying the bills or writing what people enjoy reading. The next descriptor is often "hacks."

    It's the kind of remark that makes me stabby.

    Just letting you know.



    As for the rest of your post above, you may not be the best judge of whether your book is what the market wants. Again, I advise you to check out SYW.
    I think you misunderstood me.
    I'm not saying that best-seller authors or successful ones "sold out." I'm just pointing out that some authors DO write for the money and couldn't care less about being rejected on one project to just start a new one.

    It's really hard for me to ditch this novel not because of the effort I've put into it, or because I think it's been a waste of time (I've learnt many things out of this anyway) but it's more about the characters themselves. I just care about them.

  2. #27
    Shiny new cover! AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    But would you care about your characters less if you (for example) tightened the word count, cut/combined scenes, upped the action or the stakes?

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by callalily61 View Post
    But would you care about your characters less if you (for example) tightened the word count, cut/combined scenes, upped the action or the stakes?
    No, and in fact if I do it, I'd do it for "them." (Hell, you'll think I'm crazy talking about my characters like that.) Because I wouldn't want them to die on a shelf or my hard drive.

    But then again I ask to myself, is it really worth it? Should I actually let "them" rest and move on to another more original project?

    It's hard to judge a whole book by its first 10 pages, and I'm 95% sure it got rejected because of the "market-saturated" part of it. But rewriting that would be rewriting the whole plot. Might as well write a new novel from scratch for that matter.

    Thanks for your replies callalily61, I may have sounded offensive, but rest assured I'm not

  4. #29
    Shiny new cover! AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    We're good.

    I strongly advise you to postpone trunking it till you get some objective opinions in SYW.

  5. #30
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by callalily61 View Post
    But would you care about your characters less if you (for example) tightened the word count, cut/combined scenes, upped the action or the stakes?

    This.

    If you care about the characters, you'll want to do them justice in a really great book. Right?

    A few ways that I found to help trim your word count (and that came in handy in subsequent books)


    Start scenes later and end them earlier. It sounds odd perhaps...but it will really tighten your writing. Do you really need that opening para or are you just clearing your throat before the scene begins? Do you need that last para of people saying goodbye, when it would end with a zing if you cut it after the last bit of dialogue?

    Cut or combine scenes taht only serve one purpose. Just showing your MC traveling? Move whatever plot development to another scene if you can, and combine the purposes of a scene - maybe you have a scene that develops setting, and one that develops plot. Make the words do double duty and combine the scenes so you're developing setting AND plot, or plot AND character.

    That goes for paras too - do you need this para? Can you make it do more than one thing (so that you can cut another para)?

    Do you have maybe minor secondary characters that could be combined? (You can always save them for future projects - Skrymir was cut from my first book, changed a fair bit for my forth and sixth, turned out to be a bit of a favourite among my readers and may yet get a book of his own)


    Now, you still might not sell this book. But I found this was invaluable in helping me see what a book needs, and what it doesn't. It really helped in future books. It will help you learn, if you let it. So it won't be wasted.




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  6. #31
    Nom Nom Fish AGragon's Avatar
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    Thank you, IdiotsRUs, that sounds like helpful advice

  7. #32
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    Just a thought:

    Out of 15 agents queried, you probably should have received at least one request for a partial, if your query is good and the premise of the novel hooks the agent.

    So as others here have said, get to 50 posts then put your query on the SYW forums.
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  8. #33
    practical experience, FTW MrsBrommers's Avatar
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    As others have said, that word count is pretty long for YA. IdiotsRUs has some great tips for tightening up the work. When revising, keep the parts of the book that advance the plot in some way. If it doesn't, trim it. If you are borderline on whether to cut or keep, highlight it and put it in a comment that it's something you could cut when push comes to shove. Don't just focus on polishing the first chapter either. Revise the whole book because what happens if you get a partial request that becomes a full and you say, "Oh, can I do some revisions first?" How long has it been since you put the book away for a bit and come back to it later with fresh eyes? Giving yourself some detachment will help in revisions.

    Also, get your query letter vetted. Not just by anyone, but by writers who have written successful query letters. I haven't gotten enough posts yet, but I hear the Query Letter Hell forum is good for this.

    Good luck!
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  9. #34
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    115K sounds overly long for YA. If the story itself is tight, and there are no unneeded scenes, then it's possible the language is wordier than needed. Be sure every scene is building on the one before and building the overarching story, versus going on tangents, and that will tell you if they're all essential.

    Unnecessary words, like adverbs, lengthy dialogue tags and helper verbs like "was", "was going to", "started to", etc. etc. can take up a shocking amount of space across a whole novel. In many places where you have infinitive verb constructions, you can probably swap it out with one harder-working verb. Try this on the first five pages of your manuscript, and if you are able to excise a lot of words, that's a good indicator the whole manuscript is too wordy. The good news is, that's a really easy round of edits to make, and kind of a fun one because the whole work gets stronger as a result of becoming leaner.

  10. #35
    OUTCAST is out now!!!! Toothpaste's Avatar
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    I am an overwriter. If you read my posts here at AW you might see that this is true. And so when I subbed my first book and an agent was interested, she would only offer rep after I cut 10 000 words.

    I only actually cut one chapter. I later re-wrote a sequence in the book, but that had nothing to do with word count. I managed to cut 10 000 words out of my book without getting rid of any characters, or scenes (aside from that one chapter, and that truly was an extraneous chapter, I didn't mind in the end). I simply read my paragraphs and realised that I simply didn't need that many words to describe what I was describing. My dialogue that I thought was oh so witty, actually just went on a bit too long.

    And after I'd cut everything, well you'd be hard pressed to pinpoint what I'd cut, because the voice, the quality of the writing everything was exactly the same.

    The one big difference? The book was SO much better. It was tighter, it didn't have extra padding. It read, and this is going to sound weird, like a real book.

    I bet you could cut at least ten words per page. You could definitely cut more than that. But let's look at ten words per page. If your book is say 300 pages . . . that's 3000 words. Already. A huge dent.


    Also, I agree with the others that aside from the wordcount and possibly saturated market for your work (which market is it btw?), it just might be the query. Even if you enclosed a chapter 1, that doesn't mean that any agent actually read it. If the query isn't strong enough, doesn't capture an agent's interest, then they won't move onto the pages. Fixing a query is tough, but it isn't impossible. And it's worth it.

    So to answer your question, no, no you shouldn't give up on this work just yet. If anything you should take advantage of this situation and use it to learn and improve your craft. So many people move on so quickly when things aren't going 100% the way they want them to, they never get the chance to really work at something and grow. It's worth taking the time with this simply to grow as a writer. Even if in the end this isn't the book you end up selling.
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  11. #36
    Nom Nom Fish AGragon's Avatar
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    @Toothpaste
    Thank you Definitely going to consider your advice.

  12. #37
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    This is shameful. Today after lunch I started working on the "chopping" of the book, but I noticed I'm lacking the will to do it.

    After I've got to page 4 (having taken out ~700 words already), I had to stop because I didn't feel strong enough to keep going. Kind of like I was invaded by a surge of pessimistic thoughts.

    Oh well, that was it. I might continue later.

  13. #38
    Shiny new cover! AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Happens to all of us. Perhaps save it for the weekend, with fresh coffee and the whole day ahead of you.

  14. #39
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    /cheerleader dance

    You can do it. It's hard, but it will teach you so very much. Then you can




    "Fade to Black is a dynamic and original introduction to a world and character that promise further exciting stories". British Fantasy Society

    The series has grown in complexity since the beginning, reaches a profoundly moving conclusion that is both unexpected and entirely satisfying - Publisher's Weekly

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  15. #40
    Nom Nom Fish AGragon's Avatar
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    @callalily61
    @IdiotsRUs

    Thank you very much for the encouraging words

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