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View Full Version : How important is length? (I mean the manuscript, silly.)



Lannie
05-20-2007, 11:26 PM
As I send off a blizzard of e-queries, my antennae are picking up subtle vibes that seem to suggest that many agents regard manuscripts over 100K words as "too long". This is a matter of some concern, since my manuscript is 151K (edited down from 172K.)

I had one agent tell me that my subject was "great", and to re-query when it was cut to 80K! (Thanks so much, hon, but I think not.)

What's up with this? Are all agents afflicted with ADD? Or is the pamphlet-sized novel de rigeur these days? I mean, I didn't set out to write a Reader's Digest Condensed Book.

Any observations, insights, experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! :Sun:

JanDarby
05-20-2007, 11:35 PM
How long are the books -- published recently -- that you're reading?

In my experience, 100K to 120K, tops, is the norm.

JD

formlit
05-20-2007, 11:41 PM
I think it depends to some degree on the market. Some are accepting of longer works, others not so much.

Lannie
05-20-2007, 11:48 PM
Well, Richard North Patterson's novels are surely longer. And John Lescroart, and David Baldacci, and Peter Blauner. And what about "DaVinci Code"?

I'm not comparing myself to any of these eminently successful gents, of course. But at least they prove that the reading public does occasionally fancy something longer than a Little Golden Book.

DeadlyAccurate
05-21-2007, 12:37 AM
150K is a 600-page book. 80K is a 320-page book. Hardly a Little Golden book. I have two AW writers' books here on my desk: dragonjax's Hell's Belles and ORION's Lottery. Both are just shy of 300 pages in trade paperback format. Neither felt like they were too small. Both are excellent books.

If the agents are telling you to cut, it's because they know what the editors want. Editors base their decisions on what their publisher is willing to shell out money for. In the end, it comes down to money.

scarletpeaches
05-21-2007, 12:40 AM
I'm reading a book at the moment that's described on the cover blurb as a 'doorstoper'. It's 596 pages, which to me, is average.

A doorstopper would be something around 800 pages when printed and yes, there are plenty of those being printed these days. And yes, even by debut writers.

JanDarby
05-21-2007, 12:56 AM
There's an interesting tool at Amazon for books that have a "search inside" option -- text stats.

If you look up RNP and Lescroart (DaVinci Code didn't have the link, as far as I could see), it will compare the book in question to the market in general, and both RNP's and Lescroart's books were in the 90th percentile for word count, at about 150K words, with about 90% of books being shorter and less than 10 percent longer. Another thing to check is the length of these authors' FIRST released books. What the publisher will accept from an author with a proven track record may be different from what it will accept from a debut author.

But what I was trying to say (and apparently failing) is that it can be helpful to see what it is you're reading yourself, to compare it to what you're writing. If you're reading books that tend to be in the 100K range (which is more the norm, at about 100K), then it's entirely possible that your book would work better in the 100K range, b/c that's the type of story you're drawn to. OTOH, if the majority of the books you read are in the 150K range, then it may well be that you've internalized that longer, more complicated story structure, and your book would work in that range too.

The same is true with respect to other aspects of writing. It always strikes me as interesting when an author opts to use first-person to tell a story, if the majority of that author's reading is in third person, whereas if the author's preference, as a reader, is first person, then it would seem entirely reasonable for the author to tell her own story in first person.

JD

Lannie
05-21-2007, 01:05 AM
Off course it's all about money. What isn't, nowadays?

But about the length: My spouse, who's very good at graphics and all that geek stuff, experimentally formatted my novel prior to editing (when it was still 172.5K) in a standard book format and it came out to 468 pages. (Approximately the same as "DaVinci Code".) That's why I have a hard time thinking of my 150K manuscript as "long". My idea of a lengthy novel is "Anna Karenina", "David Copperfield", "Don Quixote", or "Three Musketeers".

Alas, it's most unlikely that any of them would be published in today's market.

Jamesaritchie
05-21-2007, 01:06 AM
As I send off a blizzard of e-queries, my antennae are picking up subtle vibes that seem to suggest that many agents regard manuscripts over 100K words as "too long". This is a matter of some concern, since my manuscript is 151K (edited down from 172K.)

I had one agent tell me that my subject was "great", and to re-query when it was cut to 80K! (Thanks so much, hon, but I think not.)

What's up with this? Are all agents afflicted with ADD? Or is the pamphlet-sized novel de rigeur these days? I mean, I didn't set out to write a Reader's Digest Condensed Book.

Any observations, insights, experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! :Sun:

It really depends on the type of book, and most of all on the particular line of books it's aimed at. Agents want to represent books that publishers will buy, and publishers have always had pretty specific guidelines for length. Many say 80-120K, but when you get beyond 100K, you're making thngs tougher.

Books cost a lot of money to publish, and paper is very expensive. There's a reason the average novel is 100K, and a reason new writers most often have to prove themselves before moving a great deal beyond this point. At 151K, you 're asking a publisher to buy a lot of extra paper when the odds are your book will lost money anyway. And the more the book costs to publish, the more paper they have to buy, the more money they lose.

150K really is pushing the envelope past the point where many agents don't care at all about even reading the book, let alone representing it.

It isn't just vibes. Your novel is too long for an easy sale from a first time novelist. For several lines of books, it's almost twice as long as it should be, and even for the generous lines you still need to lose 30,000 words.

Selling a 151K novel is certainly not impossible, but every extra word over a publisher's guidelines does make it tougher, and I don't know of any publisher that has guidelines saying they want novels nearly this long.

Lannie
05-21-2007, 01:20 AM
James, everything you say makes perfect sense. I certainly don't expect an "easy" sale, or even any sale. Still, I'm inclined to exhaust all the possibilities before I consider eviscerating my story. (Which I probably wouldn't do in any case.) As you point out, it's not impossible to sell.

Maybe I'll just have to write a shortie, get my foot in the door, and then re-submit the big one.

ORION
05-21-2007, 01:26 AM
Thanks for the kudos Deadly!!!
Lannie I know it seems harsh. Please do not take it that way but many writers feel their book should be at a particular length. It IS all about money. This is the business of publishing. Try to look at your book from a different perspective. Can it be two books? Can it be edited to 120 K?
I lost entire chapters which did not move my plot forward.
Lottery is now around 89,000 words.
It is commercial fiction. Fantasy tends to be longer.
The previous advice runs true. What is acceptable with a successful author is not with many debut authors.
Your goal is to get your manuscript read and many times an agent will balk at longer novels. This does not mean they do not sell longer projects. Often times editing results in longer works.
You may have to consider compromising.

Julie Worth
05-21-2007, 01:31 AM
...paper is very expensive.

And it's not just paper. It's more work for the agent to get a longer work ready for presentation. And readers are naturally going to be leery of a long book by an unknown quantity. I'm that way--I never pick up a fat book by a writer I don't know. Because I don't want to invest the time (not to mention the money) on something that might be crap.

Lannie
05-21-2007, 01:41 AM
Congratulations on Lottery, Patricia! You go, girl. Putnam is a quality outfit.

As I mentioned above, I've already cut my manuscript by 20K words. I wish there were whole chapters I could deep-six! But I constructed the plot very carefully, and since it's a suspense story, the elements need to be there or it just doesn't work. (How can I get rid of the last-minute deus ex machina that saves the day? No can do.)

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that some carnivorous agent will discern the potential and not be frightened off by some preconceived word-count parameters. Pollyanna-ish perhaps, but hey, I'm an optimist. ; )

Lannie
05-21-2007, 01:56 AM
And readers are naturally going to be leery of a long book by an unknown quantity.

Some readers. In my case, I browse the library shelves specifically searching for longer books, because I prefer stories to anecdotes.

Incidentally, I never pay retail prices for hardcovers. I buy them all at thrift stores for a dollar or so, or on eBay, where just about any book you desire can be had for almost nothing.

scarletpeaches
05-21-2007, 04:10 AM
Long books don't scare me either, because...well, I'm a reader.

Lannie
05-21-2007, 04:45 AM
Exactly, Ms. Scarlet. Size DOES matter... in some cases, anyway.

Jordygirl
05-21-2007, 05:08 AM
the reading public does occasionally fancy something longer than a Little Golden Book.

I'd hardly call an 80k novel a "Little Golden Book".

Bigger doesn't automatically mean better.

scarletpeaches
05-21-2007, 05:09 AM
And nor does it mean worse.

Lannie
05-21-2007, 05:13 AM
Perhaps you wouldn't, Jordygirl; but Tolstoy or Proust might.

I guess it's all a matter of perspective, isn't it?

Toothpaste
05-21-2007, 06:21 AM
I think it's all a matter of taste what one likes to read. But that isn't really the issue being discussed.

Here's the thing. Even though tons of new writers get published a year, that is nothing compared to the percentage of new writers who want to be published. And a lot of that percentage find themselves writing either doorstops, because they can't edit, and 18 000 word novellas because they have no sense of structure. And because it is a new author, there is less proven quality in the work and unforunately because of the ratio, people are going to be more suspicious of a new author who writes so long or so short. And so there is a "general" rule that puts a book roughly between 80 000 - 120 000 words, which is long enough to get the depth of a story across, and not so longwided that you want to shoot yourself.

There are exceptions to every rule. Really short books by newbies get published as do really long ones. My MG (middle grade novel, 8 - 12 yearolds) is 80 000 words and the typical word count for this genre goes no higher than 60 000. At the same time however, I did wind up cutting it by 17 000 words too.

You are facing a harder struggle because you are a newbie with a longer book. But if the writing holds up, well then the writing holds up. If someone has read your book though and genuinely believes it should be shorter, maybe it isn't that they just want some "little golden book". Maybe it's because your book has great potential but is simply just a bit too long.

Lannie
05-21-2007, 07:09 AM
As it happens, Ms. Paste, only one person has read the pre-edited version, and she can't understand why I cut anything. That's a sweetly naive (if gratifying) viewpoint. The book was heavily overwritten, and I've cut it by 13%.

In any case, my shrink is reading the novel right now. I'll know what he thinks in a day or so. Since he's certifiably insane, and a published writer many times over, I'm looking forward to his opinion. ; )

Dollywagon
05-21-2007, 08:39 AM
I thought Jan's comment on 'you write what you read,' to be very enlightening.
I read very few novels, but when I do they are usually in the first person. I also prefer to write in the first person. I'd never even noticed the link before.

With your manuscript Lannie, I think you will find that although there are some authors out there who publish longer works, the majority of debut authors get shorter works published. Basically for all the reasons people have outlined above.
Your personal preference may well be for the longer works, but you are in the minority. As long as you are aware that publishers want to sell the maximum number of books to the maximum number of people, then you know before you stick your toe in the water, that you are at a disadvantage.
If you feel your book cannot be revised to make it more compatible with what the markets require and give you the best chance of the reading population to actually read your book, then at least you will have an inkling as to why you receive rejections.
Most of us haven't got a clue:D

Lannie
05-21-2007, 09:03 AM
You are absolutely correct, Dolly. I am at a disadvantage, because I want the reading population to read my book, not a truncated mishmash dictated by some bottom-line suit's disinclination to buy extra paper. I may very well be expecting too much, but as I mentioned earlier, I'm an optimist.

Besides, it's really a whopping good yarn. ;)

Dollywagon
05-21-2007, 10:11 AM
There you go then, you have essentially answered your own question.
Yes, 150k is too long for most publishers, but you are an optimist so keep on chucking out those subs!

I think many of us do tend to overlook the 'business' end of things though. I was reading an article yesterday (from a link on AW) that said 70% of novels lose money, it's only the other 30% that keeps the business going.

It ain't an exact science and that's a fact.

Unimportant
05-21-2007, 10:15 AM
Lannie, a couple questions -- and my apologies if you've addressed these and I missed them somehow.

What genre is your book? Genre expectations can have a lot of influence on 'acceptable length.'

Did the agent who suggested cutting it to 80K words say this in response to a query that just gave the genre, subject matter, and length? Or was it in response to a partial/full manuscript? If the former, then they may just be stating a length preference for first novels; if the latter, they may also be signalling that they thought the particular piece of text you submitted would benefit from a severe pruning.

Lannie
05-21-2007, 05:08 PM
Unimportant, I have been referring to the novel in my queries as a "psycho-social thriller", although I find it difficult to shoehorn the book into any pre-set category. It may be a bit of a hybrid, actually. There are elements of romance, drama, suspense, even humor, all blended together in what I honestly believe is a unique blend.

The agent in question responded only to a query letter. She is "highly recommended" on P&E. Well, perhaps so, but did she really imagine that I overwrote a 150K novel by 70,000 words?? (90 if you count the 20 I already whacked.) Sounds like a knee-jerk reaction to me, and a rather hasty one at that.

Ah, well. Aftuh all, tomorrow is anothuh day! ;)

Maprilynne
05-21-2007, 10:45 PM
*Sigh* Lannie, Lannie, Lannie,

First off, I don't recognize you, so I assume you don't know me--so I'll tell you a bit about myself. I write fantasy, I'm represented by Writer's House, my first book is currently out on submission, and it's 150,000 words long. Absolutely it happens!

Sounds like the answer you wanted, doesn't it? Well it's not. My book was 220,000 words long, I was certain, like you, that I couldn't cut anymore. Like you, I argued with everyone who told me I should, and eventually it became obvious that my MS was going nowhere. So I sat down, ate my humble pie, and really took my book apart.

I cut it to 140,000 words. How do I know that was enough? Because my now-agent told me to put stuff back in (but only a little bit.) I cut over 30% of my book. 13%? That's not major cutting--it's skimming the surface.

Here's your problem. You don't actually want advice. You want someone to tell you you're doing it right. How do I know? Because every reply you make says, essentially, "Thanks for the advice, but it doesn't apply to me." You're not listening (and when a person like ORION gives you advice, trust me, you should listen. James too, they know what they're talking about.) Which is fine, we all go through the newbie stage when we don't listen. But the fact of the matter is you are fighting an uphill battle and your book better be damn good if you want to overcome those hurdles. (And I don't just mean that you think it's damn good, it has to actually be damn good.)

I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but you are asking for advice and then slapping everyone in the face who doesn't agree with you and I'm tired of you knocking my friends.

Take a really, really, really, good look at your MS and see if you can get another 30,000 words out. That will put it back in the non-scary word-length category.

Maprilynne

P.S. Deus ex Machina isn't an ending; it's a plot device.

Julie Worth
05-21-2007, 10:57 PM
P.S. Deus ex Machina isn't an ending; it's a plot device.

And one that will get you rejected.

Dollywagon
05-21-2007, 11:55 PM
Hmm, I've been having to think about this for quite a while ...
Firstly I would like to say that I was serious when I said earlier that if you want to keep sending it out at it's current length then that is what you will do. It will either get accepted or it won't. The odds are against you but as long as you are prepared for that, then fine.

But, since I am in a similar kind of boat, I couldn't help trying to define what the differences were ...
To clarify: I have been writing children's picture book mss, rhyming texts at that. Now if you think 151k is a hard sell, try selling one of these
:roll:
You couldn't get 70 agents to even look at it.
I can give you all the reasons that my mission is nigh on impossible.
Picture books are unprecedently depressed at the moment.
You have to pay an illustrator as well as the author
Print runs are low
Most have to have foreign rights and therefore they must be translated - rhyming texts are expensive to translate
To sell a lot of copies you need to be an established author/poet

Oh, and most agents don't actually think people can write in rhyme so they won't even accept queries on them.

I have received form rejections, personal rejections and really specific rejections. The most negative comment I have got so far is "It is a little in the shadow of Dr Suess" - Funnily enough I managed to see the positive side of that.

So what is the difference between you and me? Optimistic or stubborn? Determined or Daft?

I suppose the biggest difference is that I really do understand this is a business and I have to try and figure ways to structure my work, concepts, ideas, to make my ms more appealling to publishers. To be able to prove to them that there could possibly be money in publishing my work.
You, however, CAN structure your work to give you a better chance and refuse to do so - please don't tell me you can't trim - I write kids stuff, I know all about trimming.
If only I had a chance such as you have to so easily make my work saleable ...

Lannie
05-22-2007, 12:03 AM
Congratulations on your fantasy, Maprilynne. I wish you (and everyone else here) nothing but acceptances, advances, and admiration.

It's a bit of the old apples vs. oranges thing to compare fantasies to non-fantasies, so perhaps our respective word-counts aren't really comparable. And as for 13% being a negligible percentage, well... wouldn't you like to have 13% of a million dollars?

Surely no one here would purposefully attempt to sell something that wasn't "damned good"... at least, I hope not. Seems to me an author must believe in the excellence of her work... or why bother? (Well, perhaps the filthy lucre business, but let's have an Altruism Moment and set that aside.)

With regards to fighting uphill battles, well, suffice it to say that I have long experience at doing just that, and I don't find it "scary". Nothing like a daunting challenge! (Just ask your protagonists.)

As for "knocking your friends", I'm not sure how I managed to do that, since their identities are unknown to me. However, please assure them from me that I've no intention of doing so. After all, opinions are like <you-know-whats>; everybody's got one. As to how we weight them, well, that's an individual choice, no?

Finally, my use of the term deus ex machina was intended to be somewhat self-mocking, because my story doesn't stoop to that level of artifice; but you couldn't know that, of course.

Excelsior! ;)

Jordygirl
05-22-2007, 12:08 AM
Lannie, just a question:
what is the resistance you have to cutting your ms? I mean, if agents are telling you to requery after it's shorter, they must be interested, right? And your goal is to get the thing published, right?
So why not do it? I mean, I know you've already cut some, but it's still pretty huge... why don't you find a beta reader that can tell you which scenes/chapters/lines could go?

Maprilynne
05-22-2007, 12:08 AM
Like I predicted, "Thanks for the advice, but it doesn't apply to me."

I'm done here. You don't want to hear advice.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 12:12 AM
Dolly, I am beginning to sense a certain pervasive undercurrent of thought around here, to wit: NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN BEING PUBLISHED.

But you see, I really don't feel that way. Naturally I would like my book to become available to the reading public; after all, that's why I wrote the story. But if it doesn't turn out that way, will I fall on my sword? Not even maybe. My life is far too full of blessings. I'll put the novel in a safe place and write another one. In fact I've already got an idea, and with luck I might be able to keep it under 250K!
:ROFL:

Jordygirl
05-22-2007, 12:29 AM
But I thought your goal is to be published.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 12:36 AM
Yes, Jordy, it is; just not to the exclusion of everything else, including being able to tell my tale as I see fit. (Oh, my, the insufferable HUBRIS of the woman!)

Guilty as charged. :)

Toothpaste
05-22-2007, 02:05 AM
Lainie. I think what Marpilynne is saying when she says you are insulting her friends is that everytime you say that you won't cut your book to please the man, implies that others who have are giving up their artistic integrity in doing so. Sometimes a book is better shorter. Actually, you know what, most of the time. And you also have a very strange view of "the man". All industry types I have met are incredibly passionate about books, the written word, and very very supportive of those that create them. Even the most commercial of editors (and I have one of those) is so invested emotionally in my work.

Also I think it is rather amusing you saying to Maprilyne about comparing apples and oranges and how her book is fantasy and yours is not. If there was one genre that loved a book stopper, it would be fantasy. Maprilynne is actually in the genre where it would be the least likely to be asked to cut things down. You have it harder than her, not easier.

Again like she said, you are new at this. And also you know what, your book may be perfect the length it is. But you really need to get out of the mindset that to cut your work is to compromise your integrity. It might not work for your book, but for others it could be exactly what the doctor ordered. You may want to be slightly more sensitive to that.

Jamesaritchie
05-22-2007, 02:28 AM
Congratulations on Lottery, Patricia! You go, girl. Putnam is a quality outfit.

As I mentioned above, I've already cut my manuscript by 20K words. I wish there were whole chapters I could deep-six! But I constructed the plot very carefully, and since it's a suspense story, the elements need to be there or it just doesn't work. (How can I get rid of the last-minute deus ex machina that saves the day? No can do.)

I'll just keep my fingers crossed that some carnivorous agent will discern the potential and not be frightened off by some preconceived word-count parameters. Pollyanna-ish perhaps, but hey, I'm an optimist. ; )

Darned near every writer alive swears cutting the book they've written will harm it. I've never seen a case where this is true. If you write a book of 10oK, odds are good it will be 80-90K when an editor gets done with it.

No matter how tight you think you've written the novel, it will be a miracle if it's anywhere near as tight as it really should be.

I hope, of course, that you're kidding about the deus ex machina ending.

Jamesaritchie
05-22-2007, 02:30 AM
Yes, Jordy, it is; just not to the exclusion of everything else, including being able to tell my tale as I see fit. (Oh, my, the insufferable HUBRIS of the woman!)

Guilty as charged. :)

Well, actually, this is hubris. I'd say that 99.9 percent of the time, a new writer has a choice between telling a tale exactly the way she sees fit, or of telling it the best way it can be told.

Unimportant
05-22-2007, 03:08 AM
Surely no one here would purposefully attempt to sell something that wasn't "damned good"... at least, I hope not.
No, no one would. But, while pretty much all first time authors believe their novel is damned good, the vast majority of them are wrong. As Jamesaritchie said, most novels benefit from a trim, and nearly all of the first novels I've seen needed a good 50% chop. That's why authors join critique groups, attend writing workshops, and get feedback from agents and editors -- to learn why their novels aren't as good as they think, and to learn how to fix them. Revisions are a never ending process -- writers who get good enough to sell their novels still end up revising, rewriting, chopping, and swapping to suit their editor's/publisher's requirements.

If every agent in your genre simply cannot sell a first novel that's 150K words, then you may have to choose between remaining unpublished and writing a novel within their acceptable lengths. If 150K isn't overly long for your genre, but agents aren't asking to see your manuscript, then maybe you need to reconsider your query letter. If agents are looking at your partial or full manuscript and sending form rejections, then maybe the story/writing isn't publication quality.

If you're convinced that your writing and your manuscript is perfect, and that you will not make changes to it no matter what any agent or editor says, then I doubt anyone here can offer any beneficial advice.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 03:17 AM
Ms. Paste, if my reluctance to cut the novel is truly a bit of self-indulgent suicidal foolishness, how is that an insult to anyone else?? Not quite sure I follow the logic there, but as I said before, I wish everyone here nothing but the highest level of success with their writings, whether they are pamphlets or million-word historical romances.

About my attitude toward "the man", as you call it: I am not so "new at this" as you may imagine. I have been around books and publishing for more than half a century, long enough to see even the stately old publishing houses succumb to the profitable siren songs of O.J. Simpson sewage and Princess Di conspiracy crap. I can assure you that forty years ago MANY more of the hard-working writers in here would have gotten their books published. Regrettably, the obeisance paid to the almighty buck nowadays precludes publishers from taking as many chances on newbies. Nonetheless, I try my best to keep cynicism at bay. With luck I will be as fortunate as you and find a dedicated professional whose passion is more literary than avaricious.

As for everyone's "artistic integrity": it's 100% their own business. Period.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 03:34 AM
...you will not make changes to it no matter what any agent or editor says...

I don't believe I ever said that. Actually, I would very much appreciate the input of industry professionals as to editing, revisions, and so forth. With luck, I'll get it.

What I do find nonsensical are sight-unseen assertions that something is "too long" simply because... well, simply because it is. The Pickwick Papers is way too long; on the other hand it's a darn sight better than anything I'm likely to produce, you know? ;)

Jordygirl
05-22-2007, 04:07 AM
I am at a disadvantage, because I want the reading population to read my book,

Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the distinct feeling that you're looking down on those of us who don't write "doorstoppers". It's as if you're saying anything under 100k or even 150k isn't really a book.

I don't know... maybe I'm overthinking this. Am I the only one getting that feeling though?

Unimportant
05-22-2007, 04:15 AM
I don't think an agent could or would say your particular manuscript, sight unseen, is too long or badly written or whatever; likely what they're saying is that they'd have a bugger of a time selling any 150K word first novel, but they like your story idea so if you could give them a 90K word novel containing that story they'd love to take a look.

If you want to change your novel to accomodate the length, or if you want to write a new novel based on the same storyline that's 90K, go for it; agents will probably be happy to look at your ms. If you don't want to do either of those things, don't, and accept that it'll be a lot harder to get an agent for that manuscript. There's not a whole lot of in-between.

If you're looking for input from industry professionals -- well, there are a bunch of pro writers, agents, editors, and publishers who hang out on AW, and there's a very handy Share-Your-Work subforum where you can ask for critiques on both query letters and manuscript excerpts, if you like.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 04:16 AM
Jordy, one of my absolute favorite writers is Carl Hiaasen. I doubt that any two of his novels would qualify as a "doorstopper", and yet they are brilliantly funny and wonderful.

I'm only talking about what I like to write, (although I can't help but think that 150K is pretty anemic for a soi-disant "doorstopper"). I'd love to write a 250-300K monster someday, but one thing at a time. :)

Lannie
05-22-2007, 04:27 AM
What they're saying is that they'd have a bugger of a time selling any 150K word first novel, but they like your story idea so if you could give them a 90K word novel containing that story they'd love to take a look.

Well, sure. But what do you do if you happen to have size 10 feet and they simply won't fit into 6AAA Ferragamos? Cut off a few toes? It wouldn't be a very pretty sight. You might just have to accept that you can't wear the Ferragamos. ;)

Elektra
05-22-2007, 05:20 AM
Lannie, coming from someone who writes on the shorter end of the spectrum: not all shorter/"normal"-length books are the trite, condensed stories you're making them out to be. You certainly have a right to speak your preference for longer novels; however, please do so in a way that doesn't insult every non-doorstopper out there.

Unimportant
05-22-2007, 05:49 AM
Well, sure. But what do you do if you happen to have size 10 feet and they simply won't fit into 6AAA Ferragamos? Cut off a few toes? It wouldn't be a very pretty sight. You might just have to accept that you can't wear the Ferragamos. ;)
Sometimes a good, short novel is marketable while a great, longer novel is not. If a writer is incapable of reducing and streamlining the story by removing subplots while retaining a coherent storyline, then <shrug> s/he has to live with trying to market a long, complex novel.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 05:52 AM
Fair enough, Elektra. I'll do my best.

Still, if the "non-doorstoppers" choose to discern insult where there is none, why, that's their issue, not mine.

Again: Carl Hiaasen is neither "trite" nor "condensed", and I think his books are awesome! :)

Elektra
05-22-2007, 06:02 AM
Forgive my sensitivity. I guess I just read too deeply into these phrases...

"I mean, I didn't set out to write a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. "

"...the reading public does occasionally fancy something longer than a Little Golden Book."

"...because I prefer stories to anecdotes. "

And my personal favourite:

"...truncated mishmash dictated by some bottom-line suit's disinclination to buy extra paper."

Jordygirl
05-22-2007, 06:04 AM
Forgive my sensitivity. I guess I just read too deeply into these phrases...

"I mean, I didn't set out to write a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. "

"...the reading public does occasionally fancy something longer than a Little Golden Book."

"...because I prefer stories to anecdotes. "

And my personal favourite:

"...truncated mishmash dictated by some bottom-line suit's disinclination to buy extra paper."

Hear, hear.
Or is it here, here?
Either way, I agree with Electra.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 06:31 AM
...then <shrug> s/he has to live with trying to market a long, complex novel.

Yes! EXACTLY. Thank you!

It's a gamble, of course; probably even a long shot, but one I'm willing to take. If I lose, well, then it's no skin off anyone's nose but mine. :)

Lannie
05-22-2007, 06:39 AM
"I mean, I didn't set out to write a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. " Just so. I'll bet you didn't, either.

"...the reading public does occasionally fancy something longer than a Little Golden Book." Thank Goddess!

"...because I prefer stories to anecdotes. " So? I also prefer blue over orange. Doesn't mean orange isn't a fabulous color, too.

And my personal favourite:

"...truncated mishmash dictated by some bottom-line suit's disinclination to buy extra paper." Yeah, I liked that one as well!
:ROFL:

Dollywagon
05-22-2007, 08:40 AM
Dolly, I am beginning to sense a certain pervasive undercurrent of thought around here, to wit: NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN BEING PUBLISHED.

But you see, I really don't feel that way. Naturally I would like my book to become available to the reading public; after all, that's why I wrote the story. But if it doesn't turn out that way, will I fall on my sword? Not even maybe. My life is far too full of blessings. I'll put the novel in a safe place and write another one. In fact I've already got an idea, and with luck I might be able to keep it under 250K!
:ROFL:

I think you misunderstood me here, Lannie. You see, I think you can always make your work better. Don't all writers think that ...?
And there is a pride in being able to meet a challenge. That, I feel, is what makes me a writer.
If I need to make a story fit 500, 1000, 20,000k, 100,000k then that is what I will do - without it losing anything for the reader.
It's a bit of a double-dog dare if you like - 'What, you want me to turn that 1000 word story into 500 and actually make it better than the first version? OK, you're on!"
I think you're also misguided about the 'nothing matters more than being published' statement. If I wanted to do that I could go to vanity press. No, I personally, want kids to read my work, and I want it to touch as many as possible.
These are the kids that grow up and maybe, just maybe, will want to read your work.

ORION
05-22-2007, 09:01 AM
OK so I was asleep in Norway when this discussion REALLY got interesting!
I think there are really two conversations going on at the same time here. One is:
Is the author truly the best judge of the length and status of their work? i.e. whether it is too long or "finished" or too wordy or not wordy enough?
and two:
Can debut authors sucessfully obtain representation with works of over 120K?
I know as an author I have an over-all vision of my novel. I would have answered the first question differently before I worked with my agent and editor on LOTTERY as compared to after. Novels can ALWAYS be made better and tighter with successive editing and there are few published authors who would not agree with this. Is tightening a novel necessary for a sucessful sale? Well no. But I heard Chris P. the author of Eragon (in person) freely admit that after editing and cutting thousands of words his self published tome was much better.
Dollywagon has made an excellent point and I would add to it.
It may be that more editing would make your book shorter and then longer again (it did mine) or it may mean it would stay the same or get shorter.
It is a moot point.
The real point is this and it is irrefutable.
Authors who offer only longer works (over 120K) have IN GENERAL a MORE DIFFICULT time obtaining representation.
Is this fair?
Maybe not.
Are excellent books passed over only because of length?
Possibly.
It seems you have a good attitude about this.
All the best to you Lannie.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 05:10 PM
Authors who offer only longer works (over 120K) have IN GENERAL a MORE DIFFICULT time obtaining representation.

Undoubtedly true, and so be it. I'm still willing to give it a try, especially since I always have the option of disembowling my novel at a later date. :)

Toothpaste
05-22-2007, 07:09 PM
"I mean, I didn't set out to write a Reader's Digest Condensed Book. " Just so. I'll bet you didn't, either.

"...the reading public does occasionally fancy something longer than a Little Golden Book." Thank Goddess!

"...because I prefer stories to anecdotes. " So? I also prefer blue over orange. Doesn't mean orange isn't a fabulous color, too.

And my personal favourite:

"...truncated mishmash dictated by some bottom-line suit's disinclination to buy extra paper." Yeah, I liked that one as well!
:ROFL:

Okay was your point here to mock the person who quoted you in demonstrating how you offended them?

I don't understand this response. Do you not understand how by writing these sentences you have offended people who write books that aren't door stoppers, and then by not addressing this post you have just sort of made their opinions out to be irrelevant. No one is attacking you, merely answering your question as to how you could have possibly offended anyone. This is how.

As to your witness of the whole world of publishing, with the OJ Simpson book (which was actually never published) etc. More books than ever are being published these days. And so yes more crap will also get published. But there are some really brilliant books being published as well. Now I am not saying that marketing doesn't now have a lot more influence over what gets published and that celebrities all have ghost writers etc to churn out their stories. But it isn't quite as bleak an outlook as all that.

scarletpeaches
05-22-2007, 07:12 PM
I love reading doorstoppers myself but what I write naturally ends up at no more than 75k (that's using MS Word word count...think it's just over 90k using white-space word count).

I honestly can't say I've noticed an aversion to publishing big books in the UK; there are plenty out each week it seems, by both established and debut novelists.

I'd love to write a doorstopper myself but up until now haven't found the story to fit. That's the key, you can't just pad a book to fit the word count. You need to fit the word count to the story. No more, no less. If it needs to be there, keep it. If it doesn't, kill your darlings.

Lannie
05-22-2007, 08:13 PM
Brava, Ms. Scarlet!!

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, The Art of Writing (1916): “Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it — whole-heartedly — and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

Truer words, eh? ;)

Lannie
05-22-2007, 08:20 PM
Ms. Paste, IMHO deciding to take offense is a choice. It is known in recovery circles as "giving away your power". Why would anyone want to go there? There's too much negativity in the world as it is. :)

Dollywagon
05-22-2007, 08:26 PM
Surely, Lannie, you wouldn't strive for indifference - a much more painful retort.

Elektra
05-22-2007, 09:03 PM
Ms. Paste, IMHO deciding to take offense is a choice. It is known in recovery circles as "giving away your power". Why would anyone want to go there? There's too much negativity in the world as it is. :)


:Jaw:

Lannie
05-22-2007, 09:24 PM
Quite a concept, isn't it?

Of course, not for those who prefer anxiety, stress, anguish and angst.
:Sun:

Elektra
05-22-2007, 09:46 PM
*breathe in, breathe out. Remember what you learned with what's-his-name of the giant purple lips*

Lannie
05-22-2007, 10:17 PM
Actually, Dolly, when it comes to indifference, I'm pretty much... indifferent. ;)

Toothpaste
05-22-2007, 11:12 PM
I understand now. You are from the school of "I can say whatever I want and if people are offended it is their problem not mine."

I am from the school of "treat other people with respect and empathy".

Not a big deal, though I guess we may cross paths when our schools play each other at football!

Good luck with everything though! :)

Lannie
05-22-2007, 11:37 PM
I am more from the school of "Everyone (including me) should make an effort to get over themselves", but the others are good schools, too.

I also prefer to read or write rather than attend football games (do you mean soccer?), but good luck anyway to you and the home team. :)

ORION
05-23-2007, 12:05 AM
OK so in the time it took for me to drive from Oslo to Otta things got even wilder.
Lannie sweetie ( no offence meant -- just think of the girls from AB Fab)
You started this by saying:
"Any observations, insights, experiences would be greatly appreciated."
We are offering them.
Toothpaste's book will be coming out a month after mine. We are offering you experiential advice.
We do not need to "get over ourselves." On the contrary we are active long term members of the AW community.
Take a look at the number of toothpaste's posts and mine too for that matter.
We would not presume to tell you what to do if you had not asked...but you did.
If you are serious about being published the agent advice that you received holds true.
I also hear you say that publishing is not the be all and end all for you -- so what is it?
Most of the posters here would like their work to be read-- otherwise yanno it's kind of like a tree falling in the forest...

Lannie
05-23-2007, 12:34 AM
We would not presume to tell you what to do if you had not asked...but you did.

I'm afraid I have to disagree, Patricia. To me, the words "observation", "insight" and "experience" are not synonymous with "advice" or "direction".

Do I find your collective experiences informative? Very much so.

Do your observations have merit? Certainly.

Do I feel that anyone's insights carry more authority or relevance based on the accumulated number of posts under their name? As the Russians say, nyet.

You know, before I ever posted a single thing I filled out the little profile form. One of the categories is "Best piece of advice". If you take a look at what I said, perhaps it will prove illuminating.

And no, sweetie, I'm not obsessed with getting published. That's the equivalent of heresy in these parts, I realize, but what can I say? It's just the truth. I'll do what I can to make it happen, but either way, it's all good. :)

Elektra
05-23-2007, 01:19 AM
Without the desire to be published, there's no need for these fora. If you're only writing for yourself, there's no need to learn from others, no need to improve your craft.

I have to wonder why, if you wish neither for advice nor to alter your novel, you were attracted toward AW in the first place?

DeadlyAccurate
05-23-2007, 01:30 AM
I'm afraid I have to disagree, Patricia. To me, the words "observation", "insight" and "experience" are not synonymous with "advice" or "direction".

Then here's some insight: if you don't care if you're published, length isn't important. Neither are punctuation, grammar, spelling, or plot. If you do care if you're published, length is another element to consider.

lostlore
05-23-2007, 01:46 AM
And just think, there could be this first-time novelist who'll sign with an agent next week for his huge doorstopper of a novel, and it's actually tightly plotted and well written, a major hit, and in three years the boards will be alight with discussions that ring with, "Is mine big enough yet?"

michailv
05-23-2007, 02:29 AM
Personally, I would look at the book and see if it's possible to cut out 50k words and make the book better. See it as a challenge, like one of the other posters said. Just save it as a new file and see what happens--you may find that your book gets better and better.

When I finished my novel it was 128k. When I finished revising, it was 80k. I thought it was done. Then, just before a new round of agent-pitching, I decided to glance over it again--and now I'm rewriting like crazy, and expect to drop the book down to 65k (huzzah perfect YA length!).

Each time, the book has gotten exponentially better. There were beautiful lines that I let go--that turned out to be bogging things down. Amazing bits of imagery--that were getting in the way of that one perfect image that didn't need any help.

You should give it a try, just to see what happens when you start fiddling. You might find you love the results.

Lannie
05-23-2007, 03:28 AM
Ten Perspicacity Points for LostLore!! <swoosh>

:Sun:

Lannie
05-23-2007, 03:45 AM
Welcome, Michail, and kudos on your book! I hope everything works out splendidly.

You see, the thing is, I'd rather devote my time and energy to writing 50K words of a new book than cut, chop, slice, dice, mangle, reconfigure, alter, neuter and trash the one I have, especially when doing so would transform it into the literary equivalent of a quadruple amputee eunuch... with no head. Oh, I don't doubt that I could go through and assassinate several thousand innocent prepositions and declarative clauses, but to what effect? According to the neighborhood cognoscenti 145K is every bit as unpublishable as 151K, so why bother?

Again, welcome. I think you'll find that AW is a most interesting place. :Sun:

Elektra
05-23-2007, 04:02 AM
Welcome, Michail, and kudos on your book! I hope everything works out splendidly.

You see, the thing is, I'd rather devote my time and energy to writing 50K words of a new book than cut, chop, slice, dice, mangle, reconfigure, alter, neuter and trash the one I have, especially when doing so would transform it into the literary equivalent of a quadruple amputee eunuch... with no head. Oh, I don't doubt that I could go through and assassinate several thousand innocent prepositions and declarative clauses, but to what effect? According to the neighborhood cognoscenti 145K is every bit as unpublishable as 151K, so why bother?

Again, welcome. I think you'll find that AW is a most interesting place. :Sun:

But 151k-50k is 101k, not 145k.

Lannie
05-23-2007, 04:36 AM
Hmm... Well, I'll be the first to admit that mathematics was never my forte, but I don't think I've ever heard "several" defined as fifty. :)

michailv
05-23-2007, 07:02 AM
Welcome, Michail, and kudos on your book! I hope everything works out splendidly.

You see, the thing is, I'd rather devote my time and energy to writing 50K words of a new book than cut, chop, slice, dice, mangle, reconfigure, alter, neuter and trash the one I have, especially when doing so would transform it into the literary equivalent of a quadruple amputee eunuch... with no head. Oh, I don't doubt that I could go through and assassinate several thousand innocent prepositions and declarative clauses, but to what effect? According to the neighborhood cognoscenti 145K is every bit as unpublishable as 151K, so why bother?

Again, welcome. I think you'll find that AW is a most interesting place. :Sun:
Thanks for the welcome, and of course you wish you luck with your book as well ^_^

I think there's something to be said for spending a few months perfecting a work instead of just moving on, especially if it's a story you really care about and think deserves to be shared. I also know that in my case, I learned more in a couple of months of brutal revision than I did in years of writing new stuff. The learning experience is not one I would wish anyone to miss (though obviously not everyone will have my experience).

The core issue is that you believe your novel to be absolutely perfect the way it is. That cutting it down would be marring that perfection. Whereas I think everyone else believes that the chances are that your novel could probably be greatly improved by some serious, merciless cutting--because we've found that to be the case in our own writing.

I do, at least. I may be wrong, but honestly, a lot of those novels that are cited whenever someone wants to write long could have used some serious tightening.

The problem is there's no way for us to convince you of this, not on a message board. So I hope that either I'm wrong and your book _is_ perfect the way it is, or that eventually you see that often cutting doesn't maim your book, but actually brings it to life.

Elektra
05-23-2007, 07:23 AM
Very well put, michailv. Have you started querying your work yet, or are you still in revisions?

michailv
05-23-2007, 07:37 AM
Elektra--I have, since the early chapters had been completed. Queries went over quite well, and the one agent who's seen pages wanted more. Of course, she also wanted changes, which led to met cutting out most of my first chapter :D So that's slowed me down from sending pages to the other agents. (Even if I hadn't already started some revision, the changes to ch. 1 require going back through the whole book anyway.)

Jordygirl
05-23-2007, 07:51 AM
Welcome, Michail, and kudos on your book! I hope everything works out splendidly.

You see, the thing is, I'd rather devote my time and energy to writing 50K words of a new book than cut, chop, slice, dice, mangle, reconfigure, alter, neuter and trash the one I have, especially when doing so would transform it into the literary equivalent of a quadruple amputee eunuch... with no head. Oh, I don't doubt that I could go through and assassinate several thousand innocent prepositions and declarative clauses, but to what effect? According to the neighborhood cognoscenti 145K is every bit as unpublishable as 151K, so why bother?

Again, welcome. I think you'll find that AW is a most interesting place. :Sun:

I'm taking a shot in the dark here and, now correct me if I'm wrong since I haven't seen your novel of course, but I think it might be too wordy.
Look at the above statement you made. I'm not a Lit Professor, but I do have a pretty good vocab and am not stupid. Still, I had to read this post, and others of yours, multiple times before I could really understand what you were trying to say through all the fancy words. If a paragraph of that is hard to read, imagine an entire novel.

Lannie
05-23-2007, 07:57 AM
Gentlemanly post, Michail. Thank you. (Gave you a reputation point, BTW.)

The general supposition seems to be that I, in a snit of mulish obstinacy, absolutely refuse to cut one word of my precious opus. This is nonsense, of course. I have already removed over 20K words. But apparently that is deemed insufficient. (How this determination is reached escapes me, but there you have it.)

Now, let us suppose for a moment that the first draft had come in at 500K. Would that automatically mean the book was overwritten by 420K words? At what point do these arbitrary word-count parameters become absurd? Some stories simply take longer to tell than others. Why that fact seems to tweak so many sensibilities is a puzzle. Does anyone really think that Tom Jones would be a better novel if Fielding had hacked it down into a potholder-sized novelette?

Maybe all you young'uns have months and years to spend fiddling with a 50K manuscript, but I'm too old for that. If my book flies, great; if not, then handshakes all around and on to the next thing. ;)

Lannie
05-23-2007, 08:03 AM
I had to read this post, and others of yours, multiple times before I could really understand what you were trying to say through all the fancy words.

Jordy... what fancy words?? "Eunuch"? "Cognoscenti"?


If a paragraph of that is hard to read, imagine an entire novel. Okay... how about Ulysses? Or maybe Remembrance of Things Past?

Shucks, I didn't use "fungible' or "otiose" even once. :ROFL:

Jordygirl
05-23-2007, 08:07 AM
"the literary equivalent of a quadruple amputee eunuch"
"assassinate several thousand innocent prepositions and declarative clauses,"
"cognoscenti 145K is every bit as unpublishable as 151K,"

Those are all fine in their own right, but too much is too much. I don't want to read a novel full of them. And I don't think you'd find many people who would.

Lannie
05-23-2007, 08:29 AM
Those are all fine in their own right, but too much is too much. I don't want to read a novel full of them. And I don't think you'd find many people who would.

Sigh...

Need I point out that these posts are dashed off in a florid freewheeling style utterly unrelated to the spare prose required in a novel?

No. You knew that. :)

Anthony Ravenscroft
05-23-2007, 08:33 AM
Anyone who asks for advice, then rejects all advice that conflicts with the root prejudices, is merely looking for ego-stroking. Isn't there an AW forume for uncritical kudos?

handshakes all around and on to the next thing

It is so moved. Any seconds?

Lannie
05-23-2007, 08:36 AM
Anyone who asks for advice, then rejects all advice that conflicts with the root prejudices, is merely looking for ego-stroking.

Very well-said. I couldn't agree more. That's why I don't ask for advice. ;)

And on that note...

Enter the Sandman! Off to Never-Never Land... :e2headban

dantem42
05-23-2007, 09:56 AM
Certain specific genres tend to have very lengthy novels: historical fiction and fantasy, to name two. In these categories, 150,000 words is not out of the ordinary. This is because the readership likes it that way. If this is what you are writing, and your agent specializes in these fields to any extent, he or she won't be intimidated or put off because they know that is what publishers will expect.

On the other hand, for example, cozy-type mysteries are generally on the short side. 75,000 words here would not be uncommon. Their readership tends to like quick reads.

Elektra
05-23-2007, 03:44 PM
Very well-said. I couldn't agree more. That's why I don't ask for advice.



You have to keep in mind, though, that advice is the backbone of AW. It's why we're all here--to ask each other for their knowledge and advice, and to help in our turn when possible.

The querying process alone is a huge learning curve. I know that for my own part, I'd be lost without the help and guidance of other AW'ers, who have far more experience and knowledge than I. Everyone knows something different, and by sharing/pooling this knowledge, and advising each other based on it, we're able to make better decisions as writers.

That's why we ask each other questions. Because we genuinely want to learn the answer, and want to use it to improve our writing.

mistri
05-23-2007, 04:41 PM
Lannie, if you do manage to interest an agent, and they read the first 50 pages, or even full manuscript, and they come back to you and say it could do with being significantly shorter - based on your actual writing rather than them just assuming 150k is too big - would you listen then? What if several made the same comment?

I find that if one reader says something (whether agent or friend), I am (generally) happy to ignore the advice if I truly don't agree with it. But when the same advice comes from multiple sources, I sit up and listen.

If you write a good enough query letter, perhaps you will be able to get people to look at the writing rather than the word count. The downside to this, of course, is that if these agents think the novel needs shortening *after* they've seen pages, you probably won't be able to get them to reread a revised version - you want them to see the best possible version the first time it passes under their eyes. Your 150k tome might fit that description, I can't say.

Lannie
05-23-2007, 05:12 PM
Lannie, if you do manage to interest an agent, and they read the first 50 pages, or even full manuscript (as opposed to merely reading the query), and they come back to you and say it could do with being significantly shorter - based on your actual writing rather than them assuming 150k is too big - would you listen then?

Mistri, absolutely, because that would be based on the evidence rather than a sight-unseen generalization.

It seems to me that one of the problems we encounter is the extreme pigeonholing of the various genres these days. As you astutely point out, fantasies and historical novels are expected to be lengthier than some of the other genres. But what do you do if your work can't be neatly categorized into any of the pre-measured, pre-fitted slots? What if it has elements of historical fiction (long) and mystery (short) and commercial (medium) and thriller (variable) and GLBT (Lord knows)? The only way to decide is to read it and judge from the writing.

I'm hopeful that's what will happen in my case. I just sent off the first three chapters to an agent who evidently wasn't freaked by my 150K. So, like everyone else, I've got my fingers crossed and my hair is beginning to fall out. Isn't writing fun??
:Sun:

grommet
05-23-2007, 06:07 PM
Lannie,

I feel your pain, believe me. My first book (literary fiction) clocked in at 140,000 words, which to me seemed perfectly reasonable. I love to read long books and find, if given the choice, I'd rather pick up something with 500 pages than 300 (not because of quality, but because if it's truly a good book, I go through a kind of separation anxiety when it ends, an experience I like to delay as long as possible).

That being said, I couldn't sell my 140,000 word opus;) My writing was praised, I was told it moved quickly, but the length was cited, again and again, as the reason it was unmarketable. I finally shelved it, started on something new (which clocked in at a much trimmer 100,000 words), got an agent and sold that (it comes out next month).

I'm afraid to look at that first book now. It's been a few years since I wrote it and I'm positive that I'm going to notice bloat where I didn't see it before.

I'm not sure what my point is, other than commiseration. Unfortunately, length does matter and while it's very true that some stories simply take more words to tell, in my case, at least, I suspect I needed to get a little more perspective on the story before I could see the work that still needed to be done.

grommet (http://www.kathrynmillerhaines.com)

Lannie
05-23-2007, 06:27 PM
I'm afraid to look at that first book now. It's been a few years since I wrote it and I'm positive that I'm going to notice bloat where I didn't see it before.

Perhaps. OR you might discover a really excellent story, and (now that you've successfully published a shortie) be able to market it unhampered by length prejudice.

Congratulations on your upcoming book! :Sun:

Toothpaste
05-23-2007, 08:48 PM
Hmm what's weird is that by football I meant soccer. I guess not that weird as I lived in England for three years and I just got back, but still . . . in England I would always use the North American terms, and here I use British ones.

scarletpeaches
05-23-2007, 08:53 PM
I'm taking a shot in the dark here and, now correct me if I'm wrong since I haven't seen your novel of course, but I think it might be too wordy.
Look at the above statement you made. I'm not a Lit Professor, but I do have a pretty good vocab and am not stupid. Still, I had to read this post, and others of yours, multiple times before I could really understand what you were trying to say through all the fancy words. If a paragraph of that is hard to read, imagine an entire novel.

Meh. I didn't find it at all hard to understand. I'd rather be challenged by a book than patronised.

Lannie
05-23-2007, 08:57 PM
Hmm what's weird is that by football I meant soccer.

To quote Andrés Cantor:

"¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!"
:Sun:

rugcat
05-23-2007, 08:58 PM
I'm not sure where all this argument is coming from. Many posters have noted, accurately, that a 150K ms from an unpubbed writer is a tough sell. A large majority of agents won't even bother to look at it. That is simply an unfortunate fact of publishing these days.

Lannie has never disputed this, but has decided to go ahead anyway. That's a rational decision on her part, because she clearly understands the problem but has chosen to try to overcome it. After all, it's not impossible.

The second part of the discussion is about whether the 150k novel could be improved by editing it down. Well, without reading it, there's really no way to tell whether that's true. On the other hand, the odds are that it could be. Experience has shown that almost without exception, first time novelists who write long books feel that making significant cuts would ruin the book. Almost without exception, they are mistaken. Perhaps Lannie's book is the exception to this.

Finally, Lannie, I must say there is a faint tone of superiority that manages to leak through in your posts, an implication that you alone are unwilling to make the compromises that others on the board are so eager to embrace. Some are annoyed by that; others are amused. You don't seem to care one way or another, but I do think if you were a bit more accepting that others here are equally serious about their work, and that some, published and unpublished, are very good writers indeed, you might find some of the opinions expressed quite useful.

Lannie
05-23-2007, 09:52 PM
I'd rather be challenged by a book than patronised.

Amen, Sis! :Clap:

Lannie
05-23-2007, 10:34 PM
I do think if you were a bit more accepting that others here are equally serious about their work, and that some, published and unpublished, are very good writers indeed, you might find some of the opinions expressed quite useful.

I do find them useful! In some cases, exceedingly so. But as I've previously explained, I do not equate opinions with counsel.


I must say there is a faint tone of superiority that manages to leak through in your posts, an implication that you alone are unwilling to make the compromises that others on the board are so eager to embrace.
Assuming for a moment that this is so, it won't take very long for my narcissistic recalcitrance to obviate any chance at publication, will it? In which case, there will be a collective (and quite justified) whoop of "We told you so!"

But I do think you're onto something. My "unwillingness to compromise" seems to be taken as some sort of haughty implied rebuff. But it's really nothing of the sort. It's just the path I choose to follow. Wise or unwise, I'm prepared to own whatever consequences eventuate.

And just a little aside: This isn't my first novel. I wrote my first one (longhand!)many years ago. It was probably about 95K, and I had a very fine agent who loved and believed in the book, but for whatever reasons she just couldn't find it a home. I have no regrets. It was a far better learning experience than it was a novel. My new one is incomparably superior... but longer. ;)

rugcat
05-23-2007, 10:39 PM
My "unwillingness to compromise" seems to be taken as some sort of haughty implied rebuff. But it's really nothing of the sort. It's just the path I choose to follow. Wise or unwise, I'm prepared to own whatever consequences eventuate. I do respect that.

Lannie
05-24-2007, 03:18 AM
I do respect that.
Thank you.

Incidentally, as a 1973 graduate of Old Nassau, I love your location! ;)

dantem42
05-24-2007, 12:56 PM
Each time, the book has gotten exponentially better. There were beautiful lines that I let go--that turned out to be bogging things down. Amazing bits of imagery--that were getting in the way of that one perfect image that didn't need any help.

Laughing at my own travails -- I have found out that's what second novels are for. You get to use a bunch of that great stuff you had to throw out in your first one.

Lannie
05-24-2007, 05:16 PM
You get to use a bunch of that great stuff you had to throw out in your first one.

Lucky you! I couldn't cross-pollinate my first two. About all I could do was use #1 as a template for how not to write #2. :)

Lannie
05-25-2007, 06:16 PM
Happened across this 5/10/'07 passage in the blog of Wylie-Merrick Agency:


We have worked with many types of writers in the past nine years, many of whom decided to get into writing for publication for the wrong reasons. We have talked with writers who are determined, ambitious, cynical, hopeful, wonderful, obnoxious, and all places in between, and at any given time, they probably think the same of us. Fair’s fair. We rarely, though, meet happy writers, at least not those other than our clients. By happy here, I mean content, and not just content with their writing careers, either. The innate need to write can overtake our better sense; the fickle muse can be hard to control. However, more often the desire to be published, not just to write, is usually the culprit in creating the most undue stress. It is one thing to become so engrossed in getting your great idea on paper that you accidentally stay up half the night; it is quite another to spend excessive amounts of time researching and preparing submission packages and sending e-mails and recording queries and rejections and calculating your success rate in an effort to cultivate a publishing life while real life briskly passes by.

I haven't queried these folks yet, but based on that, I just might. (Even though they have a ceiling of 110K. Shucks, what's an extra 40K?) :Sun:

Elektra
05-26-2007, 01:03 AM
Wanting to be published, and working to achieve that goal, is not an evil. When it comes down to it, most writers write to be read.

Lannie
05-26-2007, 03:02 AM
Wanting to be published, and working to achieve that goal, is not an evil. Indeed not; unless it consumes one's existence to the exclusion of everything else. Then it's an obsession.


When it comes down to it, most writers write to be read. So it would seem.

:Sun:

aliajohnson
05-26-2007, 03:08 AM
I wish everyone here nothing but the highest level of success with their writings, whether they are pamphlets or million-word historical romances.


Just for clarification purposes--Historical romances have length limits as well. 90-100K seems to be considered ideal. 110K is seriously pushing it for an unpublished author.

Just wanted to throw that out there on the very slight chance someone who writes outside the genre misunderstood your post.

Best of luck to you Lannie.

Lannie
05-26-2007, 03:23 AM
Alia... ninety thousand for an historical romance??

A history of of what? The three-minute egg? ;)

aliajohnson
05-26-2007, 03:34 AM
Alia... ninety thousand for an historical romance??

A history of of what? The three-minute egg? ;)

Only if said egg is falling in love prior to 1910. Otherwise, I belive you're thinking of a cookbook. A long one. ;)

Lannie
05-26-2007, 03:58 AM
Hmmm... So none of the huge WWII novels count? ;)

aliajohnson
05-26-2007, 05:34 AM
Hmmm... So none of the huge WWII novels count? ;)

It's my understanding that the 40's are not considered "historical" by romance publishing standards. If I were of an age to remember that time, I'm sure I'd be relieved to hear it. :) Out of curiosity--which huge WWII novels?

Lannie
05-26-2007, 05:20 PM
...romance publishing standards...

Wait a sec... I think we may be talking about two different things here. By "historical romance" are you referring to those slim Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs with smoldering women and Fabio clones on the cover? If so, therein lies the confusion. To me, the term "historical romance" refers to books like Three Musketeers, War and Peace, Gone With the Wind, Tale of Two Cities, Winds of War and so forth, none of which are 90K novels. (Probably a more classic definition, but then I am decidedly old-fashioned.)
:Sun:

JanDarby
05-26-2007, 07:37 PM
I think we may be talking about two different things here.

Definitely.

"Historical romance" is understood in the publishing industry to be romances (first and foremost) in a historical setting (prior to 1900 generally, although some have moved that line up to around 1920 or so). If you check the publishers to see who publishes "historical romance" (as opposed to, say, "historical fiction"), you will probably also find guidelines that set a word count in the range of 100K.

The books you listed would be found in the "fiction" or "literary fiction" section of a bookstore.

JD

Elektra
05-26-2007, 08:21 PM
Or classics. And again, a lot of the authors around here write those "slim Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs with smoldering women and Fabio clones on the cover".

And by the way, Three Musketeers was a serial novel, War and Peace was a political novel with an agenda, NOT a "story", Tale of Two Cities was likewise a serial, and Wikipedia has this to say about Winds of War: "Originally conceived as one volume, Wouk decided to break it in two when he realized it took nearly 1000 pages just to get to the attack on Pearl Harbor."

Ergo, Gone With the Wind is your only example that even comes remotely close to what we're discussing, and it was written ages ago, so it's pretty much a moot point.

Lannie
05-26-2007, 09:32 PM
The books you listed would be found in the "fiction" or "literary fiction" section of a bookstore.

Have you ever wondered when exactly it was that these two terms ceased to be synonymous?

Something to ponder. ;)

aliajohnson
05-26-2007, 09:33 PM
Wait a sec... I think we may be talking about two different things here. By "historical romance" are you referring to those slim Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs with smoldering women and Fabio clones on the cover? If so, therein lies the confusion. To me, the term "historical romance" refers to books like Three Musketeers, War and Peace, Gone With the Wind, Tale of Two Cities, Winds of War and so forth, none of which are 90K novels. (Probably a more classic definition, but then I am decidedly old-fashioned.)
:Sun:

I'm referring to neither. The first would never make it to publication, the second aren't considered romance by publishing standards. Also--a few romance covers are cringe-worthy, I'll grant you, but the remainder of that description is a silly stereotype likely based on those epic "bodice ripper" novels popular in the seventies and early eighties. Those, interestingly enough, were often much longer (more's the pity, IMHO). You won't find a lot of romance readers sorry to see those gone. I'm sure folks here would be more than happy to give you some reading suggestions in the genre. Try Julia Quinn for something light and fun, or Judith Ivory (I'm not personally a fan, but lots of people like her) for something a little heavier.

Lannie
05-26-2007, 09:46 PM
...a lot of the authors around here write those "slim Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs with smoldering women and Fabio clones on the cover"...

Smart of them, isn't it? That stuff sells like funnel cakes at a state fair.


War and Peace was a political novel with an agenda, NOT a "story"...

Why do I suspect Mr. Tolstoy might have been surprised to hear that? And Mr. Dickens for Hard Times, and Mr. Twain for Huckleberry Finn, and Mr. Sinclair for The Jungle, and Ms. Stowe for Uncle Tom's Cabin, and... well, you get the idea.


...it was written ages ago, so it's pretty much a moot point. Sort of like the Bible, right?

:Sun:

aliajohnson
05-26-2007, 09:51 PM
I don't think Dickens would have been surprised, as he wrote and was published in serial form.

Lannie
05-26-2007, 09:56 PM
Try Julia Quinn for something light and fun, or Judith Ivory.

I appreciate the tip, Alia, but I'm afraid those aren't my cup of tea. My current tastes in inconsequential page-turners run more towards the glitzy soap-fests of Stephen Birmingham. :)

Lannie
05-26-2007, 09:58 PM
I don't think Dickens would have been surprised, as he wrote and was published in serial form.

So he wouldn't have considered Dombey & Son a "story"? ;)

Dollywagon
05-26-2007, 11:01 PM
I think I'm sort of mixing the threads here, but Lannie, if you aren't that bothered about seeing your name in print, why did you sub to 73 agents/publishers in a week?

Lannie
05-26-2007, 11:23 PM
Why did you sub to 73 agents/publishers in a week?

Actually, Dolly, it was 75 (agents) and the reason is simple: I'd like to move the process along with as much dispatch as possible. Assuming for argument's sake that 70 of those agents will decline, I want to know about it soon, but if I leak queries out at a glacial pace, say one or two every week, I might not finish accumulating rejections until sometime in 2009. I have neither the time nor the patience for that. My next book is already in the starting gate and growing more restive by the minute... ;)

Dollywagon
05-26-2007, 11:36 PM
But if you're not that bothered about being published, why do it?

As far as I can remember, this thread was started because you had already subbed and got back a few responses referring in some way to the fact that your ms could be too lengthy.

You then asked for a general opinion if that could possibly be the case. Most folk have answered in the positive. Whether they, you, me or their granny actually wants to read 150k books is irrelevant. What sells are books under that amount. Unless of course you are still referring to the classics which were written a long time ago and became, during the course of that period, classics.
Yes, there are stringent guidelines at the moment to what you can submit. No, they are not written in stone.
It's an uncomfortable fact but we all have to deal with it in one way or another.

I think your initial question has been answered.

Lannie
05-26-2007, 11:51 PM
What sells are books under that amount (150K)

Except for Tome Wolfe, Richard North Patterson, Stephen King, David Baldacci, John Lescroart, Scott Turow, Michael Chrichton and Pat Conroy. They sell, too.


Yes, there are stringent guidelines at the moment to what you can submit.

Generally based on economic rather than literary or artistic considerations, but absolutely true.


No, they are not written in stone.

And therein lies the faint spark of hope for the rebels among us. ;)

scarletpeaches
05-26-2007, 11:53 PM
Actually, Dolly, it was 75 (agents) and the reason is simple: I'd like to move the process along with as much dispatch as possible. Assuming for argument's sake that 70 of those agents will decline, I want to know about it soon, but if I leak queries out at a glacial pace, say one or two every week, I might not finish accumulating rejections until sometime in 2009. I have neither the time nor the patience for that. My next book is already in the starting gate and growing more restive by the minute... ;)

I think sending out a handful at a time deserves some consideration though. If you're lucky enough to get a personalised response (even something as 'characters need work' or 'pace too slow' counts) you can tailor your query accordingly, or make adjustments to your manuscript.

Not change it according to everyone else's whims, of course, but if you keep getting the red flag when it comes to one particular aspect of your query or proposal or novel, then you'd do well to consider tweaking it a bit.

Lannie
05-27-2007, 12:10 AM
So far almost all of my turn-downs have been rejectbot form letters. The agent who requested the partial recognized my subject as a "hot-button issue"; enough so, apparently, to overcome the length prejudice.

But I am actually taking all this unsolicited advice to heart, and trimming words. Perhaps 148K will be less threatening than 151K. We'll see. :)

rugcat
05-27-2007, 12:29 AM
Except for Tome Wolfe, Richard North Patterson, Stephen King, David Baldacci, John Lescroart, Scott Turow, Michael Chrichton and Pat Conroy. They sell, too. Well, to take Stephen King for example, his first book, Carrie is not a contemporary example. It was published in 1974, when the publishing business was significantly different. It was also, if I remember right, 85,000 words or so? Now, of course, he can get anything he writes published, long or short.

How about books of 150k published in the last five years by previously unpubbed novelists as a fair comparison? How many can you think of?

Again, no one's saying it's impossible--just that it's a rather large hurdle. If, indeed, your book is a modern masterpiece, it will be published eventually no matter what the length.

P.S. Personally, I don't think 150K is all that long. But I'm not an editor trying to guess what will sell.

waylander
05-27-2007, 01:54 AM
[quote=rugcat;1360330]

How about books of 150k published in the last five years by previously unpubbed novelists as a fair comparison? How many can you think of?
[quote]

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
The Lies of Locke Lamora
Vellum

Your point is well made though. It needs to be a very special book indeed to break the rules.

Unimportant
05-27-2007, 01:54 AM
My current tastes in inconsequential page-turners run more towards the glitzy soap-fests of Stephen Birmingham. :)
Those glitzy soap fests have been published and sold well, as have the romances with Fabio look-alikes on the cover. Dismissing them as 'inconsequential' and 'Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs' is rude to those AW members who write in those genres. It also highlights the incontrovertible fact that those inconsequential books, and their authors, have already succeeded at something you're still attempting to accomplish.

scarletpeaches
05-27-2007, 01:57 AM
Barbara Erskine writes whacking great books, some of over 1000 pages.

Lesley Pearse's books are all around the 700+ mark. Penny Vincenzi's too. Diana Gabaldon. Jilly Cooper.

Not debuting within the last five years of course, but it goes to show that you can build a writing career by only writing doorstoppers.

Oh, Martina Cole too. and Marian Keyes.

Note how they're all women...we like to yap, us laydeez...;)

Sue Palmer
05-27-2007, 02:16 AM
I think it's more about marketing, Lannie. If you're writing the kind of book that's likely to be sold in Wal-Mart, length matters. Three one-inch thick paperbacks (approximately 100,000 words in length) will fit face out on the shelf. If your book is longer, they can only get two on the shelf and therefore may order fewer books.

rugcat
05-27-2007, 02:34 AM
[quote=rugcat;1360330]

How about books of 150k published in the last five years by previously unpubbed novelists as a fair comparison? How many can you think of?
[quote]

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
The Lies of Locke Lamora
Vellum

Your point is well made though. It needs to be a very special book indeed to break the rules.That's really all I'm saying. It's not about whether the book is deserving or not, or whether people are willing to read it. It's about how one manages to get an agent or publisher to look at it, and in general, longer equals harder.

And wasn't Susanna Clarke an editor with lots of inside contacts, thus obviating the problem?

jonereb
05-27-2007, 03:28 AM
I've given up on books of 500 pages or more. (Not sure of how many words in 500 pages.) The last few I read of that length were filled with too much info that wasn't necessary. To me, reading 500 pages is akin to a 3 or 4 hour movie. I prefer shorter novels. MHO.

Lannie
05-27-2007, 06:49 AM
Those glitzy soap fests have been published and sold well, as have the romances with Fabio look-alikes on the cover. Dismissing them as 'inconsequential' and 'Wuthering Heights-style knock-offs' is rude to those AW members who write in those genres.

Another instance of reflexive umbrage, and from an individual who styles themselves as "Unimportant"! (There's something rather fascinating about that.)

To begin with, I buy Mr. Birmingham’s glitzy soap-fests and devour them with immense enjoyment. That’s money in the author’s (and publisher’s) pocket. If you wrote one I’d buy it too, in a heartbeat. Or would you prefer that I pass it up simply because, like virtually everything else, it’s rubbish compared to Brothers Karamazov? What do you think most writers are after, anyway? Starry-eyed critical kudos or major-league bank accounts? (They don’t often coincide.) I know which one I’d prefer, given a choice.

Besides, in my view “inconsequential” is a descriptive rather than a pejorative term. After all, how many books are of any real consequence in the grand scheme of world literature? Extremely few. I’m under no delusions that anything I write will ascend into the literary stratosphere with the great classics, but so what? My goal is primarily to entertain. Oh, if I manage to provoke a thoughtful moment or two along the way, terrific, but I seriously doubt my work is ever going to matter in the long run. Am I okay with that? Quite assuredly. Are most writers? I can’t say, but they’d better be, because the operative word for nearly everything being published these days is “ephemeral”. ;)

Toothpaste
05-27-2007, 07:01 AM
I think though Lainie, "inconsequential" is also a subjective term. A book you may consider inconsequential as a work of literature in the grand scheme of things, can be a massive influence and have a great deal of bearing on someone's personal life. While longevity is lovely, isn't the goal of an author to move his/her readers? Possibly this is all a matter of semantics. That for you inconsequential has to do with the time line of the world, and the greatest impact over the greatest length of time. But for many people something of consequence is something that touches them deeply. To call a work of art inconsequential when for someone else it changed their life, can come across as a bit insulting, whether it is intentional or not. Now I know you will again say that this is just the person's reaction and they should get over it, that it is just your opinion, but the way in which you dismiss people's feelings over and over again can't help but make them get upset when you constantly toss out these generalities. Again, not that you will be much bothered by this thought.

To me it is odd for someone who is an author to have such a lack of empathy.

Lannie
05-27-2007, 07:14 AM
...isn't the goal of an author to move his/her readers?

Absolutely! As I said, my goal is to entertain, and "moving" them would qualify as entertainment.


To me it is odd for someone who is an author to have such a lack of empathy.

Oh, dear. Ms. Paste, one of the principal themes in my novel is how fatal a lack of empathy can be.


And I don't know why I am posting this at all, seeing as you will probably dismiss my feelings as worthless.

No one has the power to dismiss anything about you as "worthless"... except you.

:Sun:

Toothpaste
05-27-2007, 07:21 AM
Then why haven't you responded to the crux of my point which was your banding about terms like "inconsequential" in reference to works that some might consider quite the opposite? What you have said above is lovely, and I am very glad to read it, and what is nice is that you always readily admit how much you agree "to each his own". But it doesn't seem to make you realise at all how you may have offended others in this thread, and how it may be worth you taking a small step back and instead of telling all of us to suck it up as it were, noticing that in your attempt at witty descriptions of certain genres, you have actually made sweepingly negative judgement calls.

You have not once conceded what you have written could be taken offensively, but rather have put all the onus onto your readers. Surely again as an author you have a purpose to get across the story you want. And as such, seeing as you have no desire to truly offend anyone here, and seem actually quite reasonable when you address specific questions, it seems to me you are failing slightly at impressing on your readers (ie us) what you really mean.

Anyway, I'm sorry if I am just going way over board with this. I guess I'm just having one of those nights.

rugcat
05-27-2007, 08:10 AM
You have not once conceded what you have written could be taken offensively, but rather have put all the onus onto your readers. I agree that Lannie's posts can occasionally seem patronizing to others. But I also think she sometimes uses words that have a different connotation to her than they do to others.

If someone were to tell me my books are inconsequential, it wouldn't bother me, nor would I disagree. I work hard on them, I'm serious about making them the best I can, but they're primarily entertainment, and I'm fine with that.

Graham Greene, a wonderful and not inconsequential writer, also wrote genre books of a sort. (The Ministry Of Fear, This Gun for Hire--I forget the original British title) He referred to these books as "entertainments--he drew a distinction between them and his serious fiction. It doesn't mean those entertainments weren't wonderful books; they are. They're just not "consequential."

And yes, if you're going to compare books to The Brothers Karamazov, very few of them will measure up.

Unimportant
05-27-2007, 08:14 AM
On a writing board, calling someone a "poor writer" is unlikely to be taken as "impecunious"; "purple prose" is unlikely to be equated with Dickensian. Similarly, calling a book a "knock-off" or "inconsequential" is unlikely to be seen as anything but dismissive; it's an egregious insult. Words carry baggage. A word is more than its dictionary-definition. If a writer is unaware the connotations and societal implications a word carries, his prose is bound to reflect this problem.

Like the wise Maprilynne, I shall now bow out.

Elektra
05-27-2007, 08:37 AM
Like the wise Maprilynne, I shall now bow out.

I third the motion and do the same.

Dollywagon
05-27-2007, 09:47 AM
What do you mean by 'unsolicited advice?'

You came to this board and asked for opinion. People gave theirs based on their previous experiences with the publishing industry. There was absolutely nothing 'unsolicited' about it. If you want to argue the semantics of advice/opinion/experience, then feel free, but it isn't going to change the situation any. The publishing industry prefers, for the most part, new authors to sub works under 150k.
That's it.

Like a few others on here, I really don't care if a book is 40k or 200k, a good book is a good book, a bad 'un is bad.

Like I mentioned in the other thread, I'm subbing a rhyming text work that is 2,500 words, which in poetry terms makes your work of fiction look like something of Mills and Boon length.
But I know the score, just as you do, and made the informed decision to keep subbing.
Good luck to both of us, eh?

Lannie
05-27-2007, 10:37 AM
But I know the score, just as you do, and made the informed decision to keep subbing.
Good luck to both of us, eh?

Exactly so, Dolly, and especially to all our wise interlocutors. Bowing out is a time-honored maneuver, and most appropriate under certain circumstances. ;)

Dollywagon
05-27-2007, 10:43 AM
Yep, I get that bit, but what do you mean by 'unsolicited advice?'

And 'bowing out' may, yet again, have different connotations. Usually when I 'bow out' it's because I haven't got the time to hammer the same old, same old, when it comes to a point.

I really haven't, I have guttering to put up.

Maybe I have misinterpreted and you are actually thanking people for sharing both their time and experiences with you - because that is exactly what they have done - and whether you agree with them or not, it is only good manners to recognise their efforts.

Lannie
05-27-2007, 05:44 PM
Yep, I get that bit, but what do you mean by 'unsolicited advice?'

Well, let's see:

...you still need to lose 30,000 words... I do?

Take a really, really, really, good look at your MS and see if you can get another 30,000 words out. I should?

...you really need to get out of the mindset that to cut your work is to compromise your integrity... I must?

I do believe that folks are frequently oblivious of the fact that they're giving advice. But the reality is, they are. On the other hand, I suppose it's human nature to try and tell others what to do. And to become incensed when they balk at doing so.

Be careful with that guttering! <--- (Unsolicited advice)

:Sun:

Toothpaste
05-27-2007, 05:49 PM
And now I too I guess will just exit now. I thought we were having a nice back and forth Lainie, but now you have gone and ignored my reply again. I was doing so well before, in not coming back, and then bam, there I was again. Silly Toothpaste. Someday I'll mature enough to just let things go, lol!

Lannie
05-27-2007, 05:56 PM
If someone were to tell me my books are inconsequential, it wouldn't bother me, nor would I disagree. I work hard on them, I'm serious about making them the best I can, but they're primarily entertainment, and I'm fine with that... And yes, if you're going to compare books to The Brothers Karamazov, very few of them will measure up.

Can I pre-order Dog Days yet, Mr. L? ;)

Lannie
05-27-2007, 06:33 PM
Then why haven't you responded to the crux of my point which was your banding about terms like "inconsequential" in reference to works that some might consider quite the opposite?

Forgive me, Ms. Paste. I didn't intend to put you on the back burner.

Here's what I fail to understand: Why on earth should anyone get their knickers in a twist simply because I regard some genre, or book, or style of writing as "inconsequential'? What sort of hamstringing insecurity is at work here? Good heavens, it's just my opinion. That plus a nickel will get you... well, whatever a nickel buys these days, which is zilch.

If my trifling persiflage is enough to rock their boat, what do you suppose will happen if they ever run afoul of some scorpion book critic? I've read reviews that make vivisection seem humane by comparison. Next to some of those, "inconsequential" is a compliment.

Assuming I'm fortunate enough to have my novel published, I won't be at all surprised if it attracts some pretty vicious criticism, and I'm not talking about "inconsequential". How about something like this: "An amateurishly overwrought melange of treacly handwringing psychobabble interwoven into the most preposterously contrived plot in recent memory."

Okay. So what? Like I'm going to quit writing?

Not. ;)

Toothpaste
05-27-2007, 07:02 PM
Thank you so much for replying! Seriously, thought I was going mad there for a second!

Okay, Lainie, I totally get what you are saying and you are totally right. However. As this is a writing board where one of its primary functions is to work as a community and support each other (though not blindly, trust me in the SYW forum this is most definitely not the case), possibly it is simply a nice gesture to understand that what you consider inconsequential (or some of your other statements which I can't remember, so I am harping on the inconsequential thing, man I never thought I would write that word so many times) others may not, and it might just be nice that instead of throwing out these phrases in a forum where people are generally seeking support and help and empathy for their situation, you could just . . . not.

Not that what you wrote above isn't perfectly reasonable, but you have upset some people here needlessly (and I want to point out that I do not write in any of the genres you have mentioned over the course of the thread, that this is me simply empathising with with fellow posters), and I dunno, I thought it was worth pointing it out. Because really, it's nice to have a place that people can be safe and not judged because of what they do. I mean being a writer alone is a career harshly judged. Being a romance writer, doubly so.

Jordygirl
05-27-2007, 07:12 PM
Lannie, you keep saying, essentially, that if we are going to take offense at some of your posts that is our problem because we are all responsible for our own feelings.
Okay, sure. I get that. In fact it kind of makes sense.
But lets suppose the whole world worked on this principle. Everyone could (and would!) say whatever they felt like saying to others without fear of hurting their feelings. Because, after all, it's their choice if they want to take offense at it, right?
Yeah... we'd pretty much have a world full of angry people.

I just had to add that.

Dollywagon
05-27-2007, 10:33 PM
As I send off a blizzard of e-queries, my antennae are picking up subtle vibes that seem to suggest that many agents regard manuscripts over 100K words as "too long". This is a matter of some concern, since my manuscript is 151K (edited down from 172K.)

I had one agent tell me that my subject was "great", and to re-query when it was cut to 80K! (Thanks so much, hon, but I think not.)

What's up with this? Are all agents afflicted with ADD? Or is the pamphlet-sized novel de rigeur these days? I mean, I didn't set out to write a Reader's Digest Condensed Book.

Any observations, insights, experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you! :Sun:

This is your initial post, Lannie.
When you ask for observations, insights and experiences, then that is exactly what you are going to get.
If that experience is that your ms is too wordy to give your ms the best chance of even being read. i.e. you need to cut it by 30k, and for some reason you choose to interpret that response as 'unsolicited advice,' then maybe you should revise your initial question. What to, I haven't got a clue, because I honestly think that you have had your questions answered. Not, quite possibly, with the answers you either thought you were going to hear, or ones that you wanted to hear, but this game is full of stuff we don't want to hear.

Unsolicited advice - Don't shear a sheep with eggs in your pockets.
Yesterdays learning curve.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 01:30 AM
If that experience is that your ms is too wordy to give your ms the best chance of even being read. i.e. you need to cut it by 30k.

Dolly, no one here can possibly know or even hazard an educated guess as to the "wordiness" of my manuscript, because no one here has read it. Therefore, opining that I "need" to cut it by 30K is nothing but empty supposition.

Drawing an iron-clad analogy from their own experiences isn't valid, either. As I'm sure most would agree, every manuscript is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits (or lack thereof). :)

scarletpeaches
05-28-2007, 01:35 AM
Take a long book that's sold millions - A Woman of Substance. Yes, it was published but it's wordy as hell. BTB is overly descriptive and definitely not a good writer, if you judge by adverbs/head jumping/telling-not-showing standards.

But it was a book of its time, published when Thatcher became prime minister and readers were ready for a book about women making it in a man's world.

I doubt it would be published today in its current state. It's a rare book that NEEDS more than 100k words. Of course, many do - IF the story is big enough. It's not impossible but rare (in comparison to the percentage of 'short' books published I mean. There are still many doorstoppers out; I've read them).

But my personal preference is for these doorstopper novels. I love to lose myself in 800 pages of a well-drawn character. Like I said, it's rare to find a GOOD one, but when it happens it's fantastic.

I'll read short books (to me, short is anything sub-350 pages) but I'm often left with a feeling of "Is that it?" They're over too soon.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 03:45 AM
When you ask for observations, insights and experiences, then that is exactly what you are going to get.

Do you think so? Okay, let's examine that a bit more closely:

Observation: "The recent trend is for most debut novels to be under 100K words in length." True. No advice there. Just what I asked for.

Insight: "Since the recent trend is for most debut novels to be under 100K words in length, a shrewd new author might sensibly target 100K or less." Good point. No advice, but definitely something to bear in mind.

Experience: "I wrote a novel of 150K, couldn't get anyone to look at it, so I cut it to 95K and sold it in a week." Very illuminating! No advice. Thank you.

On the other hand:

Advice: "Since debut novels have to be 100K or less and you're new at this and don't really know anything, you need to hack your 150K monstrosity in half like I did or you are A) a stubborn idiot, and B) absolutely doomed to failure." Uh... excuse me?

To me, that's something a bit more than a difference over semantics.

:Sun:

Lannie
05-28-2007, 04:18 AM
Because, after all, it's their choice if they want to take offense at it, right?

Jordy, absolutely right. I couldn't have stated it more succinctly.

Consider this hypothetical exchange:

Lannie: "What works for you works for you, but I have my own ideas and I'm going to do it my way."

Irate Poster: "You are an arrogant supercilious know-nothing neophyte, and I am so outa here." <slam>

In deciding how to react, I have three options:

1) Mumble an apology and slink wordlessly away with my tail between my legs. (This isn't a good choice because it leaves me feeling shamed and worthless, which is unpleasant, and empowers IP's predilection for saying hurtful things.)

2) Reply in kind, along the lines of "So's your old man, and kiss my derrière." (This is a poor choice because it reinforces life-shortening negative emotions on both sides and adds to the disharmony of the Universe.)

3) Say something like: "Thank you for sharing your opinion, which, while different from my own, is equally worthy of being voiced." (That is my preferred course, because it respects IP's boundaries while preserving my own and ensures that I will never be offended by anything anyone says.)

Of course, some individuals are never really happy unless they're scratching their Mad Spot. For those folks, there's nothing to do but wish them joy and abundance. Which I do. :)

Toothpaste
05-28-2007, 04:26 AM
Quite true. But I think your category of insights is quite narrow and only suits your purpose.

(the following is not a quote or anything, nor is it reflective on any arguments or any situations. It is meant merely to offer an example of how a comment about a situation could both be insightful and advice. Viewer discretion is advised:)

"It seems to me that you have had a great deal of rejection due, what appears to be, simply your word count. Since this is the case, if you edited your MS, possibly you wouldn't have as much rejection." - this is an insight into your particular methods, and insight into a possible solution to your problems.

We are arguing over semantics, that's what's been going on this whole thread. And I think in the end we all agree with each other really. I'm just pointing out again, how while you may see a word as meaning something, it isn't necessarily how others will see it. I don't know why I have taken on the task. I guess I just like people to be able to understand where someone else is coming from, to be able to understand that maybe it isn't all just one person's "fault" as it were. That more often than not, when things get heated, it's due to all parties involved.

ETA - was posting at the same time as you Lainie, so am referring to your post above this one.

Unimportant
05-28-2007, 04:36 AM
Lannie, you appear to be oblivious or insensate to the fact that many people here are reading the exchanges thus:

AW Poster: "I write in genre X, and I've observed that the preferred word length is Y."

Lannie: "My book does have some elements of X, but it's not the worthless trash that you and the other genre X writers routinely produce, so your observation doesn't apply to me."

As you mentioned, it's an individual's choice if they choose to take offense. Many here have, including myself, though the genre I write in has not (yet) been discussed or denigrated. You might want to consider the fact that agents, too, are human beings capable of taking offense. If your query letters come across as condescending, or snide, or critical of a genre the agent represents, that rather than word length may explain the form rejections you've received.

Toothpaste
05-28-2007, 04:38 AM
Now in reference to your reply to Jordy.

That isn't exactly how it happened. It happened after you had made these big sweeping offensive (yes to some as we have established they were offensive) statements about other genres and people who write shorter books. It was seen as an immediate call to arms for anyone who wrote shorter books or bodice rippers or "inconsequential" novels. Yes it may have been an over reaction, as we now know you never meant to offend. But you are quite new here, and to read sweeping generalisations made by someone who is insisting the rules bend for her, gets some people a little irked, and gives the impression of someone new to the business who doesn't know what she is talking about.

We learned that this isn't the case later on. Things got out of control, on both sides, and that's a shame.

But I'll still go back to saying that what you write (what we all write) on this forum must be tailored carefully because this is the internet and it is hard to get a sense of the true meaning behind some posts. I once wrote an argument to something very heated that was going on, and I said something like "It's all very well for you to want to offend him, but why would you want to offend me" What I meant was that in doing one thing to one person, these people were inadvertantly hurting innocent bystanders. The responses I got back were enraged "This isn't about you!" "Not eveything is about you!" that sort of thing. By using the word "me" I had sent everyone into a furor. I knew they were overreacting, because I knew what I had truly meant. But I understood how it could have been misinterpreted and so returned, apologised for the misunderstanding, and explained myself. And I tell you, it really pissed me off those responses, and I could have retaliated. But after explaining myself, there was a back and forth and things ended amicably.

Sometimes inadvertantly we are to blame for things. And sometimes it's nice when the person who has started the fire, admits how things could have been misunderstood. And swallows their pride. And empathises with the feelings of others, as sometimes silly as they can be, in the interest of respect.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 04:41 AM
Ms. Paste, not that I mind, but my name is actually "Lannie". (Short for Iolanthe.)

"Lainie" is Ms. Kazan's handle. ;)

Toothpaste
05-28-2007, 04:46 AM
Lol! Sorry about that! oh, and my name is actually Toothpaste!

Lannie
05-28-2007, 04:49 AM
Hello, Unimportant! I thought you had bowed out?

It's nice to see you again. :)

Toothpaste
05-28-2007, 04:53 AM
Sorry Lannie, but are you going to respond to my ridiculously long opuses (opi?), I put a lot of work into them, I think they deserve some kind of reply.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 04:53 AM
...someone who is insisting the rules bend for her...

But I'm not "insisting". That would be inane and futile.

I am, however, hoping. Is there anyone here who doesn't? :)

Lannie
05-28-2007, 05:16 AM
Sometimes inadvertantly we are to blame for things. And sometimes it's nice when the person who has started the fire, admits how things could have been misunderstood. And swallows their pride. And empathises with the feelings of others, as sometimes silly as they can be, in the interest of respect.

Toothpaste, are you suggesting that I should volunteer for some sort of penitential AW auto da fé because a number of folks got mistakenly brassed off by my perceived effrontery in electing to chart my own course?

What a novel idea. Let me ponder it a bit. ;)

scarletpeaches
05-28-2007, 05:19 AM
Come on, we're all writers here. We should realise how our words affect other people. It's similar to the reason people use betas. They want to check their ideas are correctly conveyed to the reader.

It'd be a foolish writer indeed who blamed the beta for not understanding, rather than saying, "What can I do to make my thoughts clearer?"

Lannie
05-28-2007, 05:23 AM
Ms. Peaches, would you be kind enough to explain to me exactly what the H a "Beta" is?? (Aside from the Greek letter.)

Much obliged! :)

Unimportant
05-28-2007, 05:27 AM
Hello, Unimportant! I thought you had bowed out?
Since you addressed Toothpaste as Ms Paste, and scarletpeaches as Ms Peaches, I couldn't resist seeing if I might become Ms Important. Alas, my hope was futile; I am crushed. ;-)

scarletpeaches
05-28-2007, 05:29 AM
Ms. Peaches, would you be kind enough to explain to me exactly what the H a "Beta" is?? (Aside from the Greek letter.)

Much obliged! :)

A privileged person who gets to read your book before you submit it to an agent, just to give their thoughts and opinions on it.

I have one, a friend I 'met' on AW, and I'm using her to see if, as I said, the thoughts in my head are properly conveyed on paper.

Because you see, I know what I mean, but what I mean and what my beta thinks I mean, can often be two completely different things.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 05:43 AM
Since you addressed Toothpaste as Ms Paste, and scarletpeaches as Ms Peaches, I couldn't resist seeing if I might become Ms Important. Alas, my hope was futile; I am crushed. ;-)

My sincerest apologies, Ms. Unimportant. (I did look on your profile, but your gender wasn't mentioned, and since it's a bit dicey to inadvertently address a gentleman as "Ms.", I omitted the salutation. No mas. ;)

Unimportant
05-28-2007, 05:45 AM
No apology needed, Ms Nie :-D

Lannie
05-28-2007, 05:47 AM
A privileged person who gets to read your book before you submit it to an agent, just to give their thoughts and opinions on it.

Aha! I see. Many thanks. I'm letting my shrink read it, although, since I've already queried agents, I suppose he would be more of a "Gamma." ;)

Jordygirl
05-28-2007, 05:48 AM
Lannie, I believe you missed my point. Was I was trying to say was that while Person A can choose to/not to take offense at something Person B has said this should not give Person B lisence to offend or insult Person A... whether they mean to or not. If Person B insults Person A unknowingly and it is brought to their attention then there is no reason for them to continue with the same insulting behavior or words.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 05:57 AM
Was I was trying to say was that while Person A can choose to/not to take offense at something Person B has said this should not give Person B lisence to offend or insult Person A... whether they mean to or not. If Person B insults Person A unknowingly and it is brought to their attention then there is no reason for them to continue with the same insulting behavior or words.

Jordy, I definitely agree with you that no one should ever think they have license to insult anybody else. (That's why I always found Don Rickles so incredibly lame.) ;)

rugcat
05-28-2007, 06:40 AM
Jordy, I definitely agree with you that no one should ever think they have license to insult anybody else. (That's why I always found Don Rickles so incredibly lame.) ;)Yeah? Whadda you know?

Elektra
05-28-2007, 08:55 AM
will not be sucked back in, will not be sucked back in

Jordygirl
05-28-2007, 09:01 AM
Good luck Elektra.
I tried that leaving thing too.

ORION
05-28-2007, 09:08 AM
Elektra and Jordygirl --
It helps to be in the mountains of Norway and have inconsistent internet access!
And then looking up and realizing how small and inconsequential we ALL are.
But I must say I so totally appreciate reading all of your posts!
(you too ms toothpaste esq. our lady of the defending word length)

Elektra
05-28-2007, 09:12 AM
Norway AND Hawaii? I'm sorry, I have to hate you now.

There should be a smiley that turns green with envy.

ORION
05-28-2007, 12:45 PM
OK so I am taking my father around sitting in living rooms and hearing Norwegian for hours while I pretend to understand. Plus I am very VERY cold.
Feel better now?
(FYI the scenery IS spectacular -- I have photos on my blog!)

Toothpaste
05-28-2007, 06:34 PM
Sigh man now add Norway to my list of places Toothpaste must visit! I am thinking my list might have a little something to do more with Orion's vivid descriptions than my own independent desires though . . .

DeadlyAccurate
05-28-2007, 08:34 PM
Toothpaste, are you suggesting that I should volunteer for some sort of penitential AW auto da fé because a number of folks got mistakenly brassed off by my perceived effrontery in electing to chart my own course?

What a novel idea. Let me ponder it a bit. ;)

When you inadvertently offend someone with your words, the proper response is, "I'm sorry for causing offense. I meant none, but I didn't make my meaning as clear as I should have." Sometimes grown-ups apologize even when they don't think they should have to.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 08:49 PM
Sometimes grown-ups apologize even when they don't think they should have to.

Very true, Ms. Deadly, especially if they are so twisted up with codependence that they simply cannot live with the idea that not everybody is going to like them.

:Sun:

DeadlyAccurate
05-28-2007, 09:02 PM
Wow. Bless your heart, I think I get you now.

rugcat
05-28-2007, 09:07 PM
Very true, Ms. Deadly, especially if they are so twisted up with codependence that they simply cannot live with the idea that not everybody is going to like them.And sometimes, we find mature individuals who are more interested in lessening the level of tension in a discussion than they are in proving that what they said was justified.

Lannie
05-28-2007, 09:37 PM
I think I get you now.

You mean you didn't before?? I'm surprised, Ms. Deadly, since you describe yourself as "perfect" in your profile, and such a lack of discernment might conceivably be regarded as a flaw.

But in any case, I'm glad. Bless you, as well. ;)

Lannie
05-28-2007, 09:49 PM
And sometimes, we find mature individuals who are more interested in lessening the level of tension in a discussion than they are in proving that what they said was justified.

Come now, Mr. L. Would you purposefully go about "lessening the tension" in your novel? I can't imagine you would. Without tension there is... what? Boredom? Blandness? Ennui?

Personally, I find a lively discussion rather bracing. Those who don't are free not to participate. (Although, interestingly enough, the current rescidivism rate of "bow-outs" is running at about 75%.)
:Sun:

Jordygirl
05-28-2007, 10:07 PM
Come now, Mr. L. Would you purposefully go about "lessening the tension" in your novel? I can't imagine you would. Without tension there is... what? Boredom? Blandness? Ennui?


He wasn't talking about novels.

aadams73
05-28-2007, 10:11 PM
Personally, I find a lively discussion rather bracing. Those who don't are free not to participate. (Although, interestingly enough, the current rescidivism rate of "bow-outs" is running at about 75%.)
:Sun:

It's not a lively discussion when you ask for opinions and insight, and then proceed to urinate on everyone who gives you honest answers.

Length is important. Deal with it.

rugcat
05-28-2007, 10:24 PM
Personally, I find a lively discussion rather bracing. Those who don't are free not to participate. (Although, interestingly enough, the current rescidivism rate of "bow-outs" is running at about 75%.) Well, you've certainly kept this thread lively, I'll give you that.

I'm getting the distinct impression, though, that you mostly enjoy poking the bear with a stick just to hear him roar. Not always that much fun for the bear, however.

scarletpeaches
05-28-2007, 10:32 PM
Length is important. Deal with it.

But what about girth? :poke:

aadams73
05-28-2007, 10:36 PM
But what about girth? :poke:

:roll:

Lannie
05-28-2007, 10:47 PM
He wasn't talking about novels.

Jordy, not specifically, no. On the other hand, novels, even fantasy and sci-fi and such, generally make at least some effort to reflect real life. ;)

Lannie
05-28-2007, 10:51 PM
Length is important. Deal with it.

So I have, Ms. 73. In my own way.

Can you deal with that? ;)

Lannie
05-28-2007, 10:53 PM
But what about girth?

Even more important, Ms. Peaches. That's why I spend at least an hour a day at the gym... ;)

scarletpeaches
05-28-2007, 10:53 PM
http://i153.photobucket.com/albums/s217/doriangrayspictures/Threadkillers/Kitten-over.jpg

Lannie
05-28-2007, 10:59 PM
...you mostly enjoy poking the bear with a stick just to hear him roar.

That would be very cruel, Mr. L, if said bear is caged. But a free-running bear? Then it's just a "lively" encounter. After all, the bear is free to disembowel me with one swipe of his mighty paw... if he can. ;)

rugcat
05-29-2007, 12:08 AM
That would be very cruel, Mr. L, if said bear is caged. But a free-running bear? Then it's just a "lively" encounter. After all, the bear is free to disembowel me with one swipe of his mighty paw... if he can. ;)All well and good, Lannie, if annoying people is your sole purpose.

Many discussions on this board consist of passionate disagreements about various issues, pursued with some heat and defended with vigor. But that’s not what you’re about. Instead, you seem to take delight in trying to upset people for its own sake.

Thus, your modus operandi has devolved into deliberately misunderstanding what is being said, quoting out of context, and indulging in snarky personal comments about other posters.

For example, this quote:
I'm surprised, Ms. Deadly, since you describe yourself as "perfect" in your profile, and such a lack of discernment might conceivably be regarded as a flaw.

Anyone who looks at Deadly’s profile will see that listed under “Worst quality” she says, “I have no bad qualities. I'm perfect. And humble.”

This is clearly tongue-in-cheek, and you’re not stupid--you obviously understand that. But you choose to pretend that it’s serious (conveniently leaving out the last sentence, which makes the humor obvious) so that you can post a clever response and leave an impression about her which is nasty and unwarranted. (My apologies, Deadly, I know you don’t need anyone to defend you.)

This is what the politicians do--they avoid the substantive issues and focus instead on soundbites to demonize their opponents. “Gentleman, my opponent.Wilson, says he hates America.”

Perhaps some on this board take offense a bit too easily, but to delight in their reaction, deliberately misrepresent what they've said, and poke at them in the process is a far worse sin.
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r33/rugcat/297874.jpg

Elektra
05-29-2007, 12:11 AM
Toothpaste, DeadlyAccurate, rugcat, Jordygirl, aadams73:

Shall we make a pact to just let the thread die? A [twisted up, codependent] support group of bears, as it were?

SpookyWriter
05-29-2007, 12:13 AM
http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r33/rugcat/297874.jpgI actually stared at this picture for a few minutes and thought to myself: Now wouldn't that be fun to sneak up on him and go "BOO!".

rugcat
05-29-2007, 12:36 AM
Toothpaste, DeadlyAccurate, rugcat, Jordygirl, aadams73:

Shall we make a pact to just let the thread die? A [twisted up, codependent] support group of bears, as it were?It's hard to resist; I actually find the whole thing rather entertaining. But I'll try to at least take a few hours off.

scarletpeaches
05-29-2007, 12:39 AM
Can we go for a derail first? :D

Elektra
05-29-2007, 12:43 AM
Derailing topic of choice?

(If you have none, might I suggest the Animorphs series? One of the MC's turns into a grizzly bear quite often.)

scarletpeaches
05-29-2007, 12:47 AM
Never heard of Animorphs.

Clowns - funny or evil?

Elektra
05-29-2007, 12:48 AM
It depends. Do they have the big smiley face or a frown?

Lannie
05-29-2007, 12:52 AM
...indulging in snarky personal comments...
Yes, I know. But I'm sure they mean no harm, and I don't let it upset me.


...which makes the humor obvious...
Does it? I somehow missed that. Of course I prefer subtle humor, but tastes do differ, I grant you.


Perhaps some on this board take offense a bit too easily...
Really? I hadn't noticed.


...a far worse sin.
I don't think it's prudent to inject religion into this discourse. That can get a bit volatile, don't you think?
:Sun:

Elektra
05-29-2007, 12:53 AM
Has anyone else ever wanted to go to clown college, just to learn balloon animals?

aliajohnson
05-29-2007, 12:54 AM
It depends. Do they have the big smiley face or a frown?

Smiley clowns are WAY creepier than frowning clowns, IMO.

SpookyWriter
05-29-2007, 12:54 AM
Has anyone else ever wanted to go to clown college, just to learn balloon animals?I attended one semester to learn how to put on makeup. How's I do?

Elektra
05-29-2007, 12:56 AM
Do clown colleges let you retake a class? (And I always thought your picture was Snape. The hair threw me off)

Lannie
05-29-2007, 01:02 AM
Smiley clowns are WAY creepier than frowning clowns, IMO.

Absolutely. Pennywise in Stephen King's It always had a big smile... with fangs. :)

SpookyWriter
05-29-2007, 01:05 AM
Absolutely. Pennywise in Stephen King's It always had a big smile... with fangs. :)So did my ex-wife. She's actually a great character study if you writer horror/suspense.

aliajohnson
05-29-2007, 01:06 AM
I attended one semester to learn how to put on makeup. How's I do?

Need more glitter.

Unimportant
05-29-2007, 01:08 AM
Has anyone else ever wanted to go to clown college, just to learn balloon animals?

Oooh, me! I'd love to learn how to do that. Blowing up a surgical glove and calling it a cow udder just doesn't cut it.

Lannie
05-29-2007, 01:13 AM
I liked Tim Curry better as Dr. Frank N. Furter, but he did make a pretty good Pennywise. :)

SpookyWriter
05-29-2007, 01:16 AM
:roll: This would probably be less funny if I had a penis.You don't? I thought you were a guy. :Shrug: Okay, I'm going back to bed now. Carry on kids.

Lannie
05-29-2007, 01:44 AM
This would probably be less funny if I had a penis.

Trust me, it's still funny. In fact, nigh unto impossible to convey just how funny! ;)

aliajohnson
05-29-2007, 01:51 AM
You don't? I thought you were a guy. :Shrug: Okay, I'm going back to bed now. Carry on kids.

Oh, ouch:e2poke:

:e2file: --me


Lannie--I prefer Tim Curry in Clue. I'm not saying it's the best movie he's done, I just happen to love watching it.

SpookyWriter
05-29-2007, 02:02 AM
Oh, ouch:e2poke:

:e2file: --me


Lannie--I prefer Tim Curry in Clue. I'm not saying it's the best movie he's done, I just happen to love watching it.I have a hard time finding a bad Tim Curry movie. I'm like so into his Rocky roll...:D

Lannie
05-29-2007, 02:20 AM
Lannie--I prefer Tim Curry in Clue. I'm not saying it's the best movie he's done, I just happen to love watching it.

Alia, it's a great flick, I love watching it too.

The best Tim Curry performance I ever saw, though, was in the original stage production of Amadeus. Curry played Mozart opposite Ian McKellen's Salieri, and it was just outstanding. He played the harpsichord like you wouldn't believe. Why the movie producers went with Mr. Hulce I'll never know, but I was disappointed. :)

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-29-2007, 04:57 AM
Wonderful! Looks like we're all finally in agreement:

1. Lannie is going to do as Lannie wishes to do and write what Lannie wishes to write, doesn't care whether it works for him/her or not (in a manuscript or a thread), and despite initial appearances, doesn't need our advice one way or the other.
2. We are going to be offended, or not, as we see fit.
3. And nine pages in, we're ready for the kittens and puppies.

All that remains to be seen is whether or not the rest of us move along, perhaps to help those who actually want and/or need help as opposed to those whose vocabularies and experiences far surpass our own.

Lannie
05-29-2007, 06:06 AM
Formidable!

Leave it to a follower of Wicca to see things clearly. (Except for the kittens and puppies; I thought it was bears and clowns...?)

Bright Blessings, Ol' Fashioned Girl :)

(Incidentally, I don't discern anything to indicate that your vocabulary is anything but entirely up to speed.)

:Sun:

Lannie
05-30-2007, 08:35 AM
It has oft been stated that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Thus it is with humble appreciation that, for the enjoyment and edification of all, I herewith reproduce Ms. Ol' Fashioned Girl's achingly witty pastiche of my cheeky "Ten Principles of Self-Sabotage" (which may be viewed on the "Take It Outside" Board):


THE ELEVEN PRINCIPLES OF MAKING FRIENDS and INFLUENCING PEOPLE IN ANY FORUM



In order to successfully fail at becoming a worthwhile member of any on-line forum, you must rigidly follow these guidelines:

1) ALWAYS act in a way guaranteed to cause rejection. (You know you really are better/smarter/wittier than everyone else. You'll save yourself heartburn later when you are rejected by being able to say, "I knew they'd never accept me.")

2) NEVER question the quality of your own work.

3) NEVER pay attention to published canon, tenet and imperative about what is “acceptable” and what isn’t. (The publishing industry is just waiting with baited(sic) breath for you to come along and right its ignorant ways.)

4) NEVER think of anyone but yourself and your personal agenda. (No one's smart enough to catch on and it'll be lots of fun to make the people dance!)

5) NEVER set aside your own creative inclinations to follow those of others who've 'been there and done that'. (Their experience couldn't possibly benefit you anyway.)

6) ALWAYS stand up for or defend yourself or your writing methods. (No matter what happens, you'll always have the satisfaction that you NEVER gave in to 'the man'!)

7) NEVER spend even eight seconds agonizing over every preposition in a query letter. (Decisions aren't made based on first impressions! You can bulldoze and bullshit your way into - and out of! - any situation!)

8) ALWAYS rebuff those who tell you what to do. (They’re all stupid. You’re one of the gods' gifts to humanity. They'll learn to deal with it.)

9) NEVER accept ANY scrap of advice - especially after you solicit it! - from whatever source. (Bear in mind that if you act like a decent human being without a chip on your shoulder, you run the risk that someone will regard you as a decent human being without a chip on your shoulder and you might actually make a friend. Unacceptable.)

10) ALWAYS cling desperately to the idea that you know what you’re doing and vigorously shove same down the throats of people who really mean only the best in trying to help.

11) ALWAYS put a cute :Sun: at the end of all your jabs at people. (They're stupid. They'll either fall for it or look like assholes when they call you on it.)
__________________
Ol' Girl
Brava! <applause> :Sun:

SpookyWriter
05-30-2007, 09:10 AM
Hey, did anyone see the Wizard of Oz on televison the other night?

just wanna get my .2c in before the mods lock this thread.

Jordygirl
05-30-2007, 09:16 AM
We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz. A wiz he is a wonderful wiz of wonderful wonderful Oz.

Okay admittedly I don't know the real words.

Lannie
05-30-2007, 09:18 AM
Hey, did anyone see the Wizard of Oz on televison the other night?

"Who killed my sister?? Who killed the Wicked Witch of the East? Was it YOU?!"
:sUN:

Medievalist
05-30-2007, 09:19 AM
I'm locking this thread. I reckon someone with more patience will be 'round shortly.