All Wrapped Up

I wrapped up revisions on Genie Memories this morning.   Short of changes suggested by my Beta readers (who I’ll seek out after the holidays), I don’t plan on touching it again.

It’s done.  Finite.  Kaput.  Finale.

Since the plan was to get this done before December 31st, I’m considering it an early Christmas present for myself.  Because, honestly, do I ever get myself anything?  Nooooo.

Snow and Rejection Letters

I’ve had a few people ask me why I haven’t posted anything to the blog in the past week.   The answer is because the past week has revolved entirely around snow.

Avoiding snow.  Shoveling snow.  Walking in snow.  Shoveling snow.  Eating snow.

That last one would belong to Tucker, by the way.  In any case, it’s been snow lately and I don’t feel like blogging about that.

For actual content, I present a video I found over at the blog of literary agent, Jennifer Jackson.  She works for the Donald Maas Literary Agency, an agent and agency I’ve queried in ages past for previous novels and probably will for future ones.  One of her clients, Kameron Hurley, showed off some of the 15 years worth of rejection letters she’s gathered.  It’s worth noting that Hurley also signed at least two book deals.

That’s perseverance.  I’ve got myself a ways to go before I can start complaining I think.

Storm Aftermath

This is the Post-Snow Storm blog entry.  After a couple of hours of shoveling, I’m too tired for anything witty so here’s a quote from Steph :

“We’re about an inch away from having to exit the house through the windows.”

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Tucker and Snow Storm O’ Doom

A conversation with Tucker regarding the Snow Storm O’ Doom that is plowing through the Midwest.

Look Dad! Snow!

Yes, I see that.

Snow! Let's play!

So I can see.  And it’s wet so it’ll be heavy to shovel.

C'mon! Run & play with me in the snow!

Well, it’s cold so I’ll let you stay out here and you can play.

No, dude, seriously. You ain't going nowhere. You're staying out here and we're playing.

After distracting Tucker with a snowball, I did manage to get back inside the house.  I was immediately greeted by Steph who informed me that she was plotting to overthrow TimTam as Overlord of the House, having built an Army to support her efforts.

Form Ranks! And March!

I’d say she’s got a chance.

How Long is Long Enough?

While revising today, I noticed that Genie Memories had fallen under the 60,000 word count (59,606 to be precise).   This event spurred to life two of my Moose (Meese?) – the Irrational Moose and the Wise Moose.  These two had a chat that went a bit like this :

Irrational Moose : Ah, GOD!

Wise Moose : What? What is it?

IM : The book!  It’s so short!

WM : So?

IM : So?  SO?!?!  It’s short!  REAL novels are between 80,000 and 120,000 words!  No one will ever want to read something that short!

WM : I think you’re overreacting.  It’s really not that bad.

IM : Am I?  Am I?!  No agent will pick it up!  No publisher!  Readers don’t want short books.  They want mega-tomes!  Look at Harry Potter or the Wheel of Time or the Lord of the Rings!

WM : Look, we’ve still got stuff to add.  Some Genie Profiles, those nifty LINK’ed Into History bits that tie in that one character, and —

IM : Would you like fries with that?  Mega Size for just 39 cents?

WM : … what are you doing?

IM : Practicing my future career!

WM : *smacks the hell out of Irrational Moose*  Stop that.  And stop using up all the exclamation points.  You only get so many.

Melodrama aside, the Irrational Moose seems to share the same misconception that many people do regarding the length of a book.  So let’s set the record straight on that with this statement :

A Book is as long as it needs to be to tell the Story.

Seriously.  I’m not joking here.  Ask an Editor or Agent or Writer and they will tell you this exact same thing.  It doesn’t matter if the book is a million words long or a thousand.  If it tells the story, then it’s long enough.  Word count really does not matter.

Okay, there’s a couple of caveats to that. In some cases, words will have to be added because the story is not finished or doesn’t make sense (us writers sometimes think we know when the story ends but it’s not uncommon for us to be wrong).  Other times, you’ll have to remove words because they are not useful to the story, cause confusion, or are just useless (extra words = extra paper = extra cost).

Some genres do have sweet spots.  Fantasy tends to be along the lines of 80,000 to 120,000 (or longer).  Science Fiction tends to be shorter but generally in the same range.  I’m not familiar with Drama or Romance but I’m sure they have their own sweet spots.  But all of these, without a doubt, can, have been, and will be disregarded for a good story.  Remember that.  The Story is always King.

Want proof?  Over at Absolute Write, there is a thread about Published Word Counts in Sci-Fi Novels.

  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – 454,000 words
  • Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan – 3,000,000+ words
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – 46,000 words
  • Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick – 61,237 (basis for Blade Runner film)
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickets – 29,100
  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – 90,566 words

All of these are highly regarded novels and they go all across the board in terms of word count.

So … yeah, Irrational Moose is just being Irrational.  And wasteful when it comes to exclamation marks.  I mean, dude, we only have so many.   (<- Supposed to be exclamation mark but we ran out.)


(Want to see for yourself?  Go to and look up your favorite book.  Scroll down to the Inside This Book section and click the Text Stats link.  For example, here’s Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover)

Inside This Book

Text Stats

Oh, Hi There Winter

Tucker would like you to know that Winter has arrived.

Snow? Snow! Sno - Squirrel!

Six or seven inches of the white stuff fell last night.  The yard, the trees, everything is covered with a gorgeous coating of snow.  It’s quite nice and of course, spurs a few thoughts about the coming of winter.

1. Tucker is a Winter Dog.  Pretty easy to tell from his fur coat but once the snow comes down, he falls into a set pattern that goes like this :

  • Scratch to go out
  • Eat snow (sometimes he’ll even get all the way out the door before he starts this)
  • Do his business
  • Eat more snow for 10 – 15 minutes
  • Come inside
  • Realize eating all that snow fills up his little bladder
  • Scratch to go out
  • Repeat

We enjoy this.  Tremendously.

2. Tucker also insists on his walk, every morning, preferably early.  Steph wasn’t feeling well this morning (she’s gotten better) so I took the leash and we headed out.  Snow plows had already been down our street and did their ritual piling of rock hard snow at the end of the driveway so Tucker and I both jumped the pile …

… discovered the ice that coated the road.

I think Tucker and I fell on our butts a dozen or so times on the walk.  Every time I went down, Tucker would dutifully stop and sit next to me until I got up.  I think he wanted to hear what cuss words I was going to say next.

3. My brand new driveway is wonderful for shoveling.  With no cracks or gouges the size of the Grand Canyon, it almost makes it fun to remove the snow.

4. My brand new driveway is also wider than it was last year.  I have to say, it seemed like such a good idea when we decided to do that in the Summer.