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skelly
01-16-2007, 12:39 AM
When I finish this last, permanent, no-more-after-this, forever, revision of my supernatural YA novel, it will hit the finish-line at about 35,000 words. I can sense this. With what I am going to shave in editing (again), vs. what I will add in needed extra scenes, it is going to come out about 35,000. Is this impossible for this market? Is it hopelessly short?

Toothpaste
01-16-2007, 01:38 AM
It's pretty short, though not impossibly so. But I do think you are doing yourself a disservice by stating that this is it. That you will not be changing anything ever. Maybe your book needs something more if it is so short. As much as you want it finished, maybe the book isn't ready to be. Your best bet is to do the old drawer thing. Put the MS away for a month or so and then revisit it.

Another reason I am concerned about is the concept of "forever" finished with your editing is that you know that this will be far from the end don't you? When you get published there will still be more edits to do that are required from your editor. I am onto round two of edits with my editor currently. And then I will be moving onto copy editing, which is for things like continuity and grammar etc.

Anyway, maybe you can expand on why there is nothing more to add to the story or whatever, why you feel this is it. There is a possiblity you are right. And if it is the best story it can be, then even if it is short, it could probably find a home.

skelly
01-16-2007, 01:53 AM
If an editor wants edits ... I could deal with that. In the mean time, I have spent the last eight months of my life on this story and I'm sick of it. I made myself concentrate on story, rather than word length, and this is where I wound up. First novel. Or, apparently, first novella. Grrrr. Anyway, I am grimly sticking to my guns. I will cut it to the point of uselessness, and refuse to expand where expansion does not add to the story. But I won't pretend that I'm not disappointed. Thanks for the ear, Toothpaste.

Elektra
01-16-2007, 02:05 AM
Your sig seems interesting--might I ask to what all those things refer?

skelly
01-16-2007, 02:18 AM
Your sig seems interesting--might I ask to what all those things refer?
Hi Elektra. Yeah, it's my new project. You probably already knew that. In my defense ... I took off one full month after finishing the YA, and have been editing it for nearly two months since then.

Specifically, Fun50 is a 50-scene list I make that is all off the top of my head, just fun stuff (related to the story, obviously). COE is a "Chain Of Events" story arc that I do before I start working on the plot outline.

Jamesaritchie
01-16-2007, 02:42 AM
If an editor wants edits ... I could deal with that. In the mean time, I have spent the last eight months of my life on this story and I'm sick of it. I made myself concentrate on story, rather than word length, and this is where I wound up. First novel. Or, apparently, first novella. Grrrr. Anyway, I am grimly sticking to my guns. I will cut it to the point of uselessness, and refuse to expand where expansion does not add to the story. But I won't pretend that I'm not disappointed. Thanks for the ear, Toothpaste.



Story and word length are not mutually exclusive. Any story can be told at any length, and without padding. It's all on what you decide to do. Sticking to your guns may be noble, but it's writing to proper length that brings in the checks.

A story comes in at 35,000 words solely because the writer makes it come in at 35,000 words, not because the story itself demands it.

Provrb1810meggy
01-16-2007, 02:49 AM
I have a similar problem. My YA novel, which I set aside for a month and then edited, is 38,200 words. From the first draft, I believe I've added over 5,000 words, which really isn't that much, but sure seemed like it. I don't think it's impossible for something so short to be published, but if you can, I'd try to get it as close to 40,000 words as possible. Of course, if you can surprass 40,000 words and not have useless padding, then that's even better!

Tanatra
01-16-2007, 06:14 AM
Another reason I am concerned about is the concept of "forever" finished with your editing is that you know that this will be far from the end don't you? When you get published there will still be more edits to do that are required from your editor. I am onto round two of edits with my editor currently. And then I will be moving onto copy editing, which is for things like continuity and grammar etc.

I'm interested in hearing more about this subject. Why is further editing required? I always assumed that issues with the text itself such as grammar are all ironed out in the initial editing process.

Toothpaste
01-16-2007, 10:09 AM
Being relatively new to this myself, and having yet to get to the stage I can only use an educated guess.

After having gone through the edits with my editor, I have discovered what she is interested in working on are major plot points, thematic through lines. Keeping the story moving. As well as cutting a few extraneous sentences (I am rather long winded).

As far as copy editing goes, this works more along the lines of going through line by line of text and simply checking the mechanics of sentence structure and triple checking the spelling. It is a very different kind of skill, very meticulous. I would imagine that if there were any huge grammatical issues, such as continuous tense shifting etc, that the initial edit would definitely pick up on those (though to be honest I can't see an editor taking on a MS with such obvious flaws).

Does that make any sense? I believe that the copy editor is doing a very fine, needle in a haystack kind of job. I think the idea is that there shouldn't be many of these errors to be found in the first place. For example I have a friend just reading the draft for fun (she's had it for forever, but she finally went to read it) and she pointed out two minor errors, where one word was used instead of another. I imagine that would be the sort of thing a copy editor would hopefully notice.

But if I'm am totally off base, I'll update you and let you know when the time comes round, which should be in about a month or so I believe.

moondance
01-16-2007, 12:54 PM
Tanatra, in my experience, 35,000 words is too short for a YA, yes. My agent looked at my 32,000 word novel and said immediately 'this is too short'. An editor agreed with her. So either your piece has to be so stonkingly brilliant and incredibly original that editors fall in love with it anyway, or you have to make it longer.

Editing is very much an on-going process. If your story is accepted, then the editor will read the book and make copious notes on it. You get the ms back with all the notes and you have to re-write the book with her notes in mind. When my YA was edited, I had to change a subplot that was detracting from the main plot. There were also individual sections that the editor felt were weak. She also picked up on my overuse of certain words and phrases, also chapter breaks were moved.

My revised ms, after the editor had 'signed it off' went to the copy-editing department, where they formatted the Word document into PDF. They then pick up on things like line breaks (where a word has to be split over two lines with a hyphen) and section breaks (to include an asterisk or not?) They also pick up on any minor errors that have slipped past the editor. Their job is more to do with formatting the text than the text itself.

Hope this makes things a little clearer.

skelly
01-16-2007, 06:51 PM
Looks like I'm going to have to do a major overhaul. Great. Looking through the Children's Writer's Market gives me the impression that 50,000 words is pretty much standard for YA books. Does this sound right? Thanks for all the comments, btw.

moondance
01-17-2007, 12:55 AM
Yes, 50k is about right. My first YA is 60k and will be published 1st March. Fantasy books tend to be longer and may run to 100k.

If you're interested, many books on Amazon.com have their word length listed under 'Text Stats'.

skelly
01-17-2007, 01:12 AM
Yes, 50k is about right. My first YA is 60k and will be published 1st March. Fantasy books tend to be longer and may run to 100k.

If you're interested, many books on Amazon.com have their word length listed under 'Text Stats'.
THAT is valuable information. Thank you.

Jordygirl
05-14-2007, 03:30 AM
Story and word length are not mutually exclusive. Any story can be told at any length, and without padding. It's all on what you decide to do. Sticking to your guns may be noble, but it's writing to proper length that brings in the checks.

A story comes in at 35,000 words solely because the writer makes it come in at 35,000 words, not because the story itself demands it.

I disagree.
If any story can be told at any length, why is so much sci-fi so long while other books are helplessly short?

Jordygirl
05-14-2007, 03:33 AM
Just in case you're interested, I read on Agent Query (http://www.agentquery.com) that 40,000-70,000 is good for YA. Although I'm sure depending on the story it can be different lengths. Of course, must be awesome. :)

My story is currently around the 41,000 mark and will probably end up around 43,000 after the first draft. Hopefully longer after the second.