Wednesday, January 05, 2011

30,000 Words or thereabouts

Last month while I was taking a break from blogging I was working on a novel. I had thought that by middle to late December I would have the first 30,000 words ready to send to my small cadre of readers for evaluation and critique. The way I have this novel structured there is a big reveal, a climax, a turning point at about a quarter of the way through the story. At least that is how I thought it was going to go.

Last night I reached that all important reveal at something over 60,000 words. A tad beyond the first one-third of the book and double the number of words I had expected to expel getting to that pivotal point in the story. Rather than make some arbitrary adjustment I decided to let the readers have at it. But I couldn't possibly throw sixty thousand words at readers who have done nothing wrong other than be my friend and let me have their email eddress.

So as a compromise I sent out three chapters, around 8,500 words. If anyone likes those I will supply the remainder. After all, if I can't hook you in three chapters why would you want to read more? I was reminded of that last night when I was looking around my friend's library for something new to read. I started four books and each time I tossed it aside when the author failed to grab my attention with the first chapter. One was so confusing I didn't get past the first page.

Why do some authors think they don't owe their audience some semblance of value. I paid for your talent, okay in this case my friend paid for it, but the point is - have some respect for the reading audience and give them something to hold on to.

Hopefully, my readers will find something to: sink their teeth into, wrap their arms around, dip their toes in, tickle their fancy, capture their spirit, let their heart take wing, or simply enjoy.

I'll let you know.

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