Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Word Count? How's 139,750?

Ewwww, I just realized my word count was 139,750... (559 pages)
So, what do you think? Not such a good thing for a first time author? Is there an agent on earth who would even look at it?
My head hurts.
Threshold of Midnight:
Diana sat down to breakfast with a madman. Eggshells, she thought. This is what they mean when they say walking on eggshells. This edge of your seat fear that the wrong move, the wrong word, will set him off.
She chanced a glance toward her husband and saw it. Right there in those Robert Redford blue eyes was the mania. That touch of insanity that crawled into their lives a few months ago was shimmering in her husband’s eyes like a gleam of another dimension. A place where madness grew like wild flowers in an open field. Or maybe weeds. Weeds that set their roots down deep in Luke’s brain and mangled his thoughts. Tightening on his brain cells and twisting them with fear anger and confusion. She knew if she could get him to some kind of mental hospital they would tell her the fruit loops in his box were doing the jig right now, trying to escape.
“Sorry Mrs. Archer. Your husband’s a couple beers short of a six, brain’s gone fishin’, out to lunch-probably permanently.”
Thank you much, doc, but that little fact is old news. Now, tell me how much time would a lady get for murder in New Jersey? If she used the insanity defense would it really matter which one of them was crazy?
“We need all the dry goods in today, Diana.” Luke insisted as he mopped up his soft-boiled eggs with his whole-wheat toast. “I’ve packed the linens in boxes and put them in the mud room. Take those down, too.”
Diana looked across the breakfast table at her husband and felt the heat of anger rise up inside her. And fear. There was always that too, inching up her spine, twisting her gut like some kind of venomous snake. And it won out over the anger every time. She looked away, across the room and out the window over the sink. The sun was out today. Birds singing in the trees and clouds drifting by making the morning seem just like every other day. If she focused on the trees and the sky it was almost like her life was normal. Just for a few minutes.
Reluctantly, turning back to Luke, Diana promised herself she was not going to feed his mania today.
Luke nodded and continued with his instructions, but Diana wasn’t listening. Instead, her thoughts turned to getting out of this situation.
Death or divorce.


Zoe Winters said...

that is fabulous! I love it. You've got some very vivid imagery and a voice that grabs. There are only a couple of things I'd cut out. I'd just describe the toast as toast, not whole-wheat because it slows down that sentence and takes me out of it to hear soft-boiled eggs and whole-wheat toast in the same sentence. But that's just me. I think there were one or two other tiny things like that but I couldn't hold them in my head.

Now if you can just cut it down to maybe 100,000 words. If it flows this well throughout, I don't see why this shouldn't be published.

spyscribbler said...

"Death or divorce."

Love that, LOL. I wish I had 139,750 words! Feels good to cut, sometimes, if you're in the right mood. I have to be in the right mood, though. When I am, I can really hack away.

Aimless Writer said...

Zoe, thanks! I did the whole wheat thing to show his obsessive personality. Everything is exacting, perfection. However now I'll reread outloud to see if I can cut it up and get a better flow!
Thanks for your imput! Always appreciated.

Aimless Writer said...

Spy, I go in with good intentions on cutting out the useless information and end up adding more! Its like painting a picture. No matter how long I work on something when I look at it again I see where I can make it better.
Oh, the art we suffer for! lol

Stewart Sternberg said...

You remind me of the criticisms level at Mozart. Too many notes!!!! Of course, economy in writing is a strength. Looking over one's work and figuring what is superfluous is a tremendous challenge, don't you think? I sometimes let my work settle for a time before even attempting it.

Your writing style is fluid. It draws the reader in as though you are placing an arm about the shoulders and using conversation to set them up for the hook. Nice touch. Nice talent.

Rhythm is something writers struggle to achive. It's that tap tap tap in the back of the head.

lainey bancroft said...

139,750? I suddenly feel so at home here. =)

Great excerpt! Love the touches of black humor. And I totally got the soft boiled whole wheat obsessiveness!

I do think word count is more forgivable in women's fic than in some genres, but for a fresh agent search you'd probably do yourself a service to whack some words. Having spent the majority of my writing time doing just that, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Pretty basic moves can take a inflated word count down quite a bit. Feel free to email me a chapter or two if you want, and I'll share what others have pointed out to me.

Erica Orloff said...

WOW! Just fabulous, Aimless!!!!

Aimless Writer said...

Stewart, Thanks. I think sometimes I forget who I'm writing for and let my characters babble too much. I definately need to slice and dice this one if its going to go anywhere.

Aimless Writer said...

Thanks, I'll definately take you up on that! I'll get some pages emailed in a day or two.

Aimless Writer said...

Erica, Thank you! Glad you liked it. This is one of my favorites but not sure I can go anywhere with it because of the length.
Perhaps if I was Stephen King...