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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Finished Manuscript

I finished the first draft of my new novel today. Since tax time has slowed the auto repair part of my conglomerate down as it always does around this time of year, I’ve had a bit more time to write. My comic book shop will be open early today. Having learned the market, meaning agents (the first stumbling block on the way to publishing), are not real big on long manuscripts, I forced myself to show restraint on the new manuscript’s length. Although bowing to the wisdom of those who have something actually published (thanks Jordan), it was still tough to end a story with some thought to more parts. I understand the necessity, because you have to get the query letter past an agent’s slush pile. Having a word count above 150,000 words printed at the top will make the slush pile into quicksand, practically guaranteeing your query letter will be dumped. The reason behind this phenomena is agents don’t read anything other than bits and pieces. Even if they ask for pages, because you’ve managed to entice their interest with a few paragraphs, those pages you send better be like the first pages of ‘Jaws’ by Peter Benchly.

I’m not writing this from a bitter point of view, because I know there are more would be writers out there than ever. I also know most agents have to sift through piles of practically unreadable crap. It’s reality they may not want to spend time on themes they don’t like, so the new strategy will be ‘Jump The Shark’ literature. It may be possible to fool them into taking a look further into the book than the first thousand words. I keep reading good writing will get an agent’s attention, but where does good storytelling enter into the mix? There must be an agent out there who would like be drawn into a plot rather than blindsided by one. This means my last masterpiece of nearly 200,000 words will be heading for the vanity press with my other five novels. I’ll try the ‘Jump The Shark’ route with this new one. It will be rough getting one of my novel heroes eaten by a shark in the first few paragraphs though, and then what do I do with the shark? :) As always, I'm glad I have a day job.

1 comment:

Jordan Summers said...

You're welcome. :) Break out the red pen and get to work. Remember, be vicious. ;)