Monday, August 1, 2016
To revise or Not to Revise
So I've been researching query letters and it's kinda scary.
First: Apparently I have written too many words. And here's why this scared me. Well, not scared me, really, just disconcerted me because I keep telling everyone the book is finished and now I'm afraid I've got to edit for the 25th time (Or 26th or whatever.) Now I'm going over it in my head wondering what I need to cut. Wow, I just spent most of yesterday wondering what I needed to add. This writing thing is hard!
The average fiction book is from 80,000 to 100,000 words. I have written 115,000 words, and I can't even imagine how to get rid of 15,000 words. Maybe I could just give 'em to some other writer? Let me know if you need a word or two, or 15,000.
My other worry is that all the successful query letters to agents are so good. But that's not as much of a worry as the fact that these agent queries are written by writers who've actually been published. Some have even won awards for their work, including awards for the very book they're trying to sell to an agent. Which makes not a lot of sense to me -- why would you have to try to sell an award-winning book to an agent? Wouldn't it just stand on its own merit and have agents coming out of the woodwork begging to handle your award-winning book? Writing for money is confusing. And is it super gauche to admit I'm writing for money? Can I put that in my third paragraph bio to an agent? Probably shouldn't. huh?
I've just finished a really good writing guide book by author Hallie Ephron, who I believe is writer Nora Ephron's sister. The book is 10 years old, but the advice and information is still relevant. The title is "The Everything Guide to Writing Your First Novel". From the first sentence of your first draft to the finished novel and how to write your agent or editor query letter, the manual is clear and concise and easy to read. I've read so many writing advice books, and even have many on my shelves. But this one is so comprehensive that I would recommend that any writer could find answers to just about any question in this guide.
I think I might have even learned how to decide which of those 15,000 words are keepers and which words are just stuff that I can happily send to the dead file.
And so, here I go again. Revise, revise, revise . . .