Caturday – A Question of Brevity

Caged 2

Here’s a photo from back in the day, when we had nothing but Maine Coons and lived in a third story apartment. Actually, they loved doing this, they’d beg to go out on the balcony and sleep in the sun. It was little sad that our circumstances dictated that they couldn’t roam a yard but the cats were happy with what they had.

I’m not happy with what I have. After a couple weeks of doing work work, today I’m returning to working on a new opening chapter for my book. I’ve grown frustrated with this but it’s slowly coming together. But my reading keeps getting in the way.

See I’m reading yet another smashing debut novel and damned if it isn’t well above the 120,000 word count that most agents and publishers insist we wannabes adhere to. 120K is a LOT of words, especially in most fiction genres. But not in fantasy, where epic tales must be epic length, plots must be tangled narratives worthy of Game of Thrones, and world-building must be Tolkienesque. That takes a lot words.

As I have noted before, I had to kill a lot of darlings to fit this book under that 120K limit. And it has created problems. I’ve scrimped on plot lines, descriptions of places and characters, dialog, etc to a point where one of my beta readers said, “it just feels that there’s so much missing”. Aaaaaargh. I can do that, I can flesh things out but it would at least cost me removing on entire plot line.

I have a solution of sorts but it will take me time. First of all, I have to finish this new chapter if it kills me. But then I’m going to work up a new version of this book. I’m going to expand this to the epic I want it to be, damn the word limit. Let’s see where it goes, if I can craft this into a doorstop that is compelling yet not padded. THEN I’ll submit the truncated version. If I get a nibble from an agent or publisher I’ll tell them I’d be happy to sell it, but I also have this doorstop which you might even like better. This means a lot of work, a lot of time spent at this computer instead of doing other things in my life. But I might as well roll the dice and see what happens. I’m going to give myself to the end of the summer to complete this. I suck at deadlines in most circumstances but my discipline is better than it was.

And so I roll the dice. Wish me luck.


About jeroljohnson

I guess I'm the crying on the inside kind of clown
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