I follow several Literary Agents' blogs because they're full of advice as to what not to do or how to tighten your writing. I came across one recently that said, "Examine your work for 'begin to,' and 'decide to,' and 'seem' because these verbs weaken your work." So I used the "Find" tool and searched for each of these words. When I forced myself to eliminate them, it made the prose stronger. For example, instead of "she began to think about..." becomes "she thought about." And "he decided to kiss her" becomes "he kissed her." I learned there's no need to use these "deliberating" verbs. Just make it happen!
I've realized that the more I learn about the craft, the less I know.
Monday, July 5, 2010
After 25 rejections, I decided to have a professional editor critique my query letter. There were a few minor changes, but the most glaring thing (which I'd suspected) was the word count. At just under 53,000 words, my novel simply isn't long enough. This equates to around 215 pages, but in the publishing world it isn't large enough. When books are printed, there's an acceptable range for word count that is in direct relation to the cost of printing. For novels, the minimum word count (I've learned) is around 75,000. The quality of the work aside, it isn't good business to print shorter novels. So, I'm plowing through the manuscript again in an attempt to add another 25,000 words (100 pages). Surprisingly, this task isn't as daunting as I'd expected. In just 2 1/2 pages, I've added 76 words. Amazing how being away from your manuscript for several months gives you an entirely new set of eyes. After just these few pages of revision, I've asked myself, "I sent this to agents?" However, I realize that no matter how long I work on it, it will never be good enough...for me.