Monday, 2 February 2009

Being Greedy

I finished reading DJ Kirkby's, brilliant, From Zaftig to Aspie yesterday, but not until I'd spent one and a half hours soaking in a bath and ending up looking like a giant prune. Despite our completely different upbringings, I was still taken back to my childhood by so many memories that her book evoked, and have to say that her story is truly incredible, and so beautifully written.

I spent the afternoon finishing my redraft of HH&S - yes, I did say finish - however, there was an irritating fly in the ointment. Before starting the redraft, I deleted the last third of the novel, as it was awful, then worked on the redraft on my new Samsung notebook (still loving it) which doesn't have word count. When finished, I saved the WIP to my memory stick and downloaded it to my computer, only to find that I have just over 61,000 words. Surely that's far too few? Helpful words of wisdom welcome (please).

To recover from my annoyance (at self), I settled down in bed after watching the fab Larkrise to Candleford and thought I'd start reading Caroline Smailes, Disraeli Avenue. However, I was unable to put it down until the end. It truly is a fab book, and I'm so proud that I 'know' such talented people as Denyse and Caroline. This morning I woke with eyes that felt like some pixie had been stabbing them with miniscule daggers. Serves me right for being so greedy.

Mind you, whilst checking my emails at lunchtime, I did find out that I was one of the winners who had won an advance copy of, The Letters by Fiona Robyn which put me in a far better mood for the rest of the day. I'm thrilled and can't wait to read it. Read more about, The Letters, here.

22 comments:

SueG said...

Oh, the dreaded word count. I'm in the same pickle...yes, I believe you really have to have at least 80,000 words for a novel. Otherwise, they don't know how to market it and that's one ready-made strike against you. My 1st draft fell 10,000 short, but I'm finding that as I do a "quick" read-thru, I'm finding places where I can and need to add episodes and "unpack" bits. Maybe that will work for you too?

Debs said...

sue - thanks, it does look like I'm going to have to go over it again. Argh!

HelenMHunt said...

I'm so jealous that you've read DJ's book. I've been so busy since I got back from the launch that I haven't had time to read anything! I have read Disraeli Avenue though, and know what you mean about not being able to put it down. I treasure my lovely signed copy from Caroline.

Lane said...

I'm falling short of a decent word count too. I like Sue's term - to 'unpack' bits:-)

Congrats on winning The Letters. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Only 61,000 words!

Holy Moses,that's a lot of words. Then I'm not a writer so really shoudn't be giving my opinion here. But sod it, I will. So let say you need a minimum of 80,000 words if my maths is right you're well over 75% there already m'dear. Imagine you are climbing a steep hill and at the top of the said hill is a cafe selling tea and homemade cakes. Are you going to turn around and go back down. Nope! You're going to quick march all the way to the top and stuff your gob with those cakes. So best foot forward. Hey, look at the beautiful view on the way up. Wow! Isn't life great. TFx

Troy said...

Oh dear, I don't know how to help you with the word count. My immediate thought was "more adjectives" but 19,000 additional adjectives is a rather dozy suggestion on further thought. So I'll just say "good luck".

claire p said...

I have to confess to being the opposite. I'm a waffler and tend to go horribly over and have to cut loads out. I'm sure another read through will throw up places that you can add to. Good luck with it x.

Melissa Marsh said...

I say it's ok to be greedy now and then. :-)

As far as word count, if you're targeting single title fiction, yeah, I'd say you have to get at least 85 to 90k.

DJ Kirkby said...

Thank you for saying such lovely things about my book. I loved reading Caroline's DA too. I am writing again now but I am trying to avoid looking at the word count in case it puts me off.

Caroline said...

Being next to Denyse and Fiona - how perfect! Thanks for reading DA, really really thanks x

Chris said...

debs - many, many CONGRATS on finishing HH&S - but the word count (dreadful words to me too at the mo!!!) would have to be an absolute minimum of 85,000 for a commercial women's fic novel, and while publishers happily accept close on 90,000 they'd prefer nearer 100,000... SORRY!!!! It's to do with standard book sizes, page numbers, type-setting, costing, production and marketing... Sadly I KNOW...

Mummy said...

oh no - the dreaded word count! I hope you can find a way of adding to it - an extra little chapter here and there maybe? Oh dear :(

ChrisH said...

Don't go up to 110,000 like me - they don't like that either!

Debs said...

helen - they're both so talented and write so beautifully, I loved the books.

lane - I'm definately going to have to do a lot of unpacking!

tf - thanks for that image, it certainly helps. I shall do as you say, and get my walking boot on to march to the top of that hill.

troy - mmm, 19000 adjectives, I think even I would have a problem coming up with that many, and I love a good old adjective!

claire - I haven't had this problem before, I'm normally having to whittle down words. It's such a pain.

melissa - it does look like I'm way short of the mark, sigh.

dj kirkby - your book was fabulous. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

caroline - thanks for writing such a wonderful book. I love my signed copy.

chris - oh pants. Never mind, back to the grindstone then. I don't know what I was thinking writing such a short novel in the first place.

mummy - I'm going to have to think about this, and see what I can do with the story/characters. Such a pain.

chrish - we'll get there in the end, somehow. Not sure how though.

Kaye Manro said...

Debs, As for word count, I don't know where your target market is. Also, it could be a novella and there are publishers who want short novels. Anyway, good luck getting it to where you want it to be.

Susie Vereker said...

Congrats, Debs, but yes the word count is a little short. If you've settled on the plot perhaps you can delve deeper into the characters to flesh it out a bit. Or is there a new character who can be introduced to add another dimension to the story.

Flowerpot said...

Well done Debs - and Susie V's advice sounds good. Well done for winning The Letters, too!

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

They've all said it about the word count. Commiserations. But reading greed is good (as Gordon Gekko nearly said). One day, someone will be staying up too late reading YOUR book. Hold on to that thought and write extra words to keep them turning the pages.

Jane Smith said...

Well done on winning a copy of Fiona's book--she's a great writer.

As for your wordcount--it is a bit short, but not terribly so. I'm not sure what genre you're writing in but 80k is probably the best length to aim for: I wouldn't go too much longer than that if I were you. And if your story is complete as it is, don't lose hope: novels as short as 60k have been published in the past, and will be again. Just make it perfect, and you might be surprised.

motherx said...

You sound like you are doing so well. 61,000 is a lot of words! my book was 50,000 at first and I was told to cut it down.(teen market.) I still havent been able to get my hands on that book yet but will keep looking. Have you read Born on a Blue Day? I've heard that is similar

Ladybird World Mother said...

Could you pretend that one of the characters is a bit repetitive? Just say very very very, lots of times. Word count is horrible. Tom Foolery's comment is lovely. Just do that!

Debs said...

kaye manro - thanks. I think I'm going to have to redo this damn thing again.

susie - I can't believe I didn't think of the word count. I do have another character, and I think maybe that might be the answer.

flowerpot - thanks. What a berk I am, not being aware of the word count!

zinnia - thanks, I shall remember what you've said and press on.

jane smith - thanks for your comment. I'm going to go through this again and see what I can do.

motherx - I haven't read that, but shall look it up, thanks.

lwm - I could do that, and put in 19,000 additional adjectives like troy suggested :)