Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Word count and limitations

I haven’t written a great American epic. Not by a long shot. I know that 59,000 words is on the short side. It’s more long novella than short novel. Does this bother me? Yes. Could I add a few thousand words? Sure.

So why don’t I?

I have what you’d call a sparse style and it works well for me. No flowery prose, no descriptions to skip (okay, there is one in chapter four, but I had to describe the layout of the Sea Sprite somewhere). I have no trouble admitting that I don’t feel comfortable adding to the manuscript the way it is. I also have no illusions about there being opportunities to flesh out scenes and character movements. I’m afraid, though, that what I would add now would increase the word count not the quality of the manuscript. I’ve reached a plateau with THE PROTECTOR.

Should I admit to this? I don’t know. I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s beneficial to acknowledge one’s limitations. And I think with THE PROTECTOR I’ve reached a level I will not pass without professional help. I think of the learning experience working with a professional editor would be, and I’m almost more excited about working with someone than having the end result published. (What can I say? I’ve always enjoyed learning.)

Now the question becomes whether I have written well enough to make up for the missing words. Is there enough quality and potential in my 59,000 words to give an agent or publisher the idea that I will be able to add a few thousand more with some guidance?

I think so :-)

1 comment:

Faith said...

Tell your tale. Who cares how many words it takes as long as it's told. That's all that is important. There's a market for everything.