Monday, July 29, 2013

Gonna Need a Bigger Grindstone (and not just because I have a big nose)

Aside from a few days while on vacation I have stuck to my six-day-a-week-get-up-at-5am-and-write-for-forty-five-minutes regimen.  Sometimes it's closer to an hour, other times closer to thirty minutes depending on how I stagger out of bed, but it's a rare day when I don't bang out at least five hundred words.  This allows me to not be a nervous mess about trying to write at 10pm or so when I'm tired and worn out from a full day's work, exercising, taking care of the kids, laundry, etc.  Am I tired?  Since I'm maybe getting five hours of sleep at night, a little (don't hit me Kevin!).  It's okay, though, because this needs to be done.

See, about sixteen years ago I wrote this book.  I was separated and my girlfriend at the time, who is now my wife lived around fifteen hundred miles away.  In addition I was taking every other Monday off, and on those days I was usually punching out between three to five thousand words.  When I finished it the draft rolled in at about 229,000 words - WAYYYYY too long for a complete unknown, unless your name is Rothfuss (not be fair, he'd already placed in the Writers of the Future contest.  I had published doodly).  Then the next worst thing happened - a publisher liked the sample chapters and asked for the manuscript.  With visions of book signings in my head I sent the cinderblock off.

It was rejected, of course.  The editor liked the writing but not enough to take a chance on such a long book with an unknown (this was a small Canadian press - I have no idea how I picked them out. This was so long ago I was using a book edition of the Writer's Market).  Bummed, I set it aside and didn't really write much for a while.  A few years ago I found a copy on a box and said, "Hmmm."  So I started editing before promptly forgetting about it and switching back to short stories.  I'm back on it now and pretty much rewriting it as opposed to editing.  As Roger DiBrees says in The Producers, 'That whole third act has got to go.'

As it stands I think this draft - yes, I've finally learned that this is just a first bite at the apple - will end up in the 110-120,000 word range, which is pretty good.  Optimal would be around 90k, but it's close enough and editing should trim it some.  Then come the big questions - do I try to find readers?  Do I send it out myself or try to find an agent?  DO I say 'screw it' and try to pull a 'Wool' by selling it myself on Amazon and hoping review copies on Goodreads engender interest (although I'll try to actually write a complete novel and not a really good short story with an extra 60,000 words tacked on)?  Will I actually ever look at the copy of Scrivner I bought on sale and try to learn how to use it?  Who knows.  I had a friend suggest I should take a whack at writing a game, but that's a major time investment.  Can we make the days a few hours longer?


  1. Kevin doesn't hit. He just gives you that disappointed look.

  2. I like how you start with "six days a week writing at 5am for an average of 45 minutes" and then end with "but THAT's a major time commitment." Heh.

    I say stick with the re-editing and then figure out the most "commercial" way to self-publish. Just read your story "Fudge," by the way. Terrific.

  3. I'd love to be a reader for you, when you're ready. Have done it a few times before and think I can give honest feedback.

  4. Thanks, Aaron. You're on. ::cough cough sucker cough::