Friday, June 24, 2011

Page Numbers or Word Count - Which is more important?

Through my many discussions into the progression of my book writing process, a question continues to resurface. How many pages is your book? Initially this concern or idea was something that was important to me. I guess I wanted to feel like I was accomplishing something. I tried hard to remember exactly how many pages I'd written. In the end - the first draft - with double spacing was over a thousand pages.

But as a reader and a writer - what does that really mean.  As I have started editing - I've realized that page count means relatively little.  Changing the font size, the font type - single vs double can all change the actual page count drastically.  I started reading author, agent, and publisher blogs and word count is by far more important.

I learned about the importance of daily writing, keeping a constant schedule and trying to write every day. I set myself a word count daily goal of 2,000. This seemed like a good number. Though as I continued to write I only reached this goal half the time of the days that I found time to write. Some days I surpassed this number.  In future writing - I may do a weekly word count.  As my life sits, I am unable to write daily - at least on any book project I may have.  But I do other ways.

Word count is often dependent on the type of book you are writing. You surely wouldn't want a childrens' book to be in the 100,000 word range and you wouldn't want a fantasy book in the 20,000 word range.

I was always unable to answer the word count question because I hadn't taken the time to combine the 25+ different and individual chapters, each being divide into their own document. That changed today. I finally was able to combine everything, with some power and finesse into a complete first draft, word count.

Drum roll please........I finished my first draft of my first novel at 245,000 words. 

I immediately was shocked because I didn't know the actual count until I combined everything at the end.  This really scared me because word count is so important.  I knew immediately that my manuscript was substantially too long. 

I began editing with a vengeance and the number changed dramatically.  I cut out over 100,000 words - which is another person's manuscript. I have now gone through 9 rounds of editing.  From a massive cut and slash - to improving conversation and scene cutting.  I've cut 100,000 words but other senctences have been rearranged and scenes improved in order to tighten up the writing.  It is a process that unfortunately has taken almost 8 months.  

Now, I need to move to the next step - which is the query letter.  I am just beginning this process.  I still have page count in the back of my mind - because I am still asked about it on a daily basis.  But the real key - is word count.  My genre is Epic Fantasy instead of just fantasy for this same reason - Epic Fantasy allows a larger word count. This suites me just fine...I hope. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Check out this Jaundice

Recently I saw a patient with a serious case of jaundice. It was a new thing and had worsened in the last four days. It was pretty impressive. His chronic condition that causes the jaundice has been an issue over the last few years. Therefore, the symptom of jaundice came from a chronic issue. Jaundice can be caused by several things including hepatitis, liver failure, pancreatitis, and several other issues.

It is the result of elevated bilirubin in the body.

The picture attached of course, isn't my patient. Guess what was the worst symptom that he was having???

ITCHING - It was horrendous.

To learn more about jaundice - Follow this link to InterActive Health- Jaundice

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Importance of a Query Letter

The Query letter is one of the more crazy things in publishing. I mean - right up there with your pitch. It's so crazy that most writers hate it...or so I've been told. The problem is - as crazy as it seems's vitally important to do and to do it well. But when we get rejected - it can be painful. We need to find a solution to avoid getting rejected.

I believe there is an art to Query letters - and a formula. Stick to the formula and you are playing it safe. Add some splashing colors and you could drown out your canvas or make it glorious. Break all the rules and you will usually implode - unless you shine above the others.

The funny thing is that the query letter is written so differently than the actual story. But almost no one will even read your story if you don't knock the query letter out of the stadium.

I just finished my 9th round of editing. It is time to move on. The next logical step is the query letter. I think that I've written it 10 different ways and I can't get a handle on which one is better or worse. I've read a ton of other query letters and some of the ones that succeeded - I didn't like and some that failed - I loved. It's all a matter of opinion and what gets you on a certain day.

It's important to be honest and make your query letter yours. Research as much as possible and read as many as possible but in the end - write what you need but do it well.

What really seemed to hit me is that the final ingredient in a query letter - must be a dash of luck!

Originally seen at EarthsDivide

Monday, June 13, 2011

Trip to the Northwest

Lauren, me and the kids had an amazing trip to the Northwest. It was a good 14-16 hour drive. We were also very fortunate to have Atina [Lauren's Mom] with us as well. We set out to see the U2 concert in Seattle and ended up having a blast and seeing much more that we could have ever thought possible. Who would have guessed that on the second day of our drive we would have hit an inch of snow in early June. An hour later - the temperature had increased 30 degrees as we made our way into Portland.

We also came to one of the three huge dams on the Columbia river - one picture shows how they get barges and other ships from one side of the dam to the other.  Check out the raging water below.

One of the prettiest spots on the trip was at Multnomah Falls.  This was a huge waterfall that allows you to get so close.  You can even walk to a landing closer to the falls. The kids loved this waterfall and the beautiful trees.

The Pride and Joy of our trip.  The U2 concert was fantastic. It was easily the best day of our trip.  We'll maybe not so easy since we had a ton of fun.  The U2 concert was held outside and over 70,000 people came. Lauren and I would not have enjoyed it as much if two of our favorite people hadn't joined us in the fun. Thanks Laura and Eric for coming down from Alaska. We did of course have to spend almost two hours in lines to get a T-shirt and a program.

The day after the U2 concert - We hit a ballgame and watched the Mariners beat the Rays.  Who knew that garlic fries could taste so good. 

Seattle was a blast - from The space needle - to the Aquarium - to the new Avatar Exibit - What a blast!!  We did leave the kids in Portland with Lauren's Mom during our trip to Seattle. - Thanks Kathi and family!!!

Our last spot was Seaside Oregon.  How I love the beach.  The kids and I spent hours walking the beach - looking for sea shells and catching a crab, some sea anemones, and tons of starfish and hermit crabs. Why don't I live closer to a beach???