The Coffee Shop - JULY

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
User avatar
wilderness
Posts: 541
Joined: February 21st, 2010, 6:25 pm
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by wilderness » July 18th, 2012, 12:27 am

Claudie wrote:It's so sad when the Coffee Shop chatter dies!
Totally!

I spent quite a bit of this month just brainstorming what needs to be fixed in the draft I completed in June. Now I'm revising and I'm at about the halfway point of the book. I don't think I can revise the whole thing this month since I'm out of town next week, but I feel I'm making good progress.
Graeme o'Winnipeg wrote: I think coffee shops are the best invention for us writers!
I've become a coffee shop camper lately too. I meet other writers and we mostly ignore each other and write for hours. I love it.

And I also love meetup.com where I stumbled upon the best critique group. They give great feedback but oh so nicely.

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by dios4vida » July 18th, 2012, 11:15 am

My July has been rather unproductive, but since I finished the latest draft of my WIP and sent it off for critique I'm okay with that. A week or two without deadlines or stress to writewritefinishwrite have been sooooooo nice. I'm gonna start getting back into the swing of writing this week, next at the latest, but I've been enjoying some time to slow down and finish the Brandon Sanderson lectures and read some books and watch the monsoon season dump rain like crazy in the desert and make the wash behind our house run (for the first time in six years). It's been lovely.

And yay for the coffee shop. It did seem strangely quiet around here without it. Sommer, I think you created a monster with this!! (A big, furry, loveable, Maurice Sendak-like monster whom we all love and adore.)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

guichizango
Posts: 19
Joined: January 2nd, 2012, 11:32 am
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by guichizango » July 18th, 2012, 3:30 pm

Hey, I know I haven't contributed to the coffee shop before, but I love reading all the conversations. I just wondered if any of you have ever just had a stroke of amazing luck with your writing and researching. In one of my stories, my characters have to repair a house, and I know nothing about construction or anything concerning that kind of manual work. I had found some self help books from the library, but they weren't as helpful as I'd thought. I was so frustrated, that I started asking people at work (I work at a nursing home) what they knew about roofing. And bam! One of my close friends who works as the carpet cleaner also happens to moonlight as a journeyman, which I had no idea. I spent the rest of the day picking his brain, and I was able to ask questions like how long a project would take, etc. I'd never thought of just asking people what they knew, and I never expected someone to help me through that bump in the road!

Graeme o'Winnipeg
Posts: 18
Joined: July 1st, 2012, 12:40 pm
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Graeme o'Winnipeg » July 21st, 2012, 2:36 pm

Some day, all of us writers should form a coffee-shop co-op. Hmmm...
;)

Claudie
Posts: 707
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:57 pm
Location: Quebec
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Claudie » July 21st, 2012, 7:24 pm

Graeme: I have a writer friend who plans to open a coffee-shop-library in the next 3-4 years. Kind of like Chapters, but French and smaller (I'm from Quebec City, and there is no Chapters here) Of course all my local writer friends plan to invade the place all year long. ^^
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by dios4vida » July 21st, 2012, 7:30 pm

Claudie wrote:Graeme: I have a writer friend who plans to open a coffee-shop-library in the next 3-4 years. Kind of like Chapters, but French and smaller (I'm from Quebec City, and there is no Chapters here) Of course all my local writer friends plan to invade the place all year long. ^^
If we had something like that down here, I would never leave it. Seriously. Dream!!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

User avatar
Beethovenfan
Posts: 322
Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 11:45 pm
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Beethovenfan » July 22nd, 2012, 11:45 am

So, my husband broke his leg back in May. Since then I have not been able to write. It's weird. I have had to basically be his legs for the past few months because he really did a GOOD job on breaking it (he's been non-weightbearing the entire time :shock: ) so he can't put any weight on it at all. None.

Having this extra responsibility has pushed my writing to a back burner, and well, it's depressing. I feel so disconnected from my writing that I hardly know what my muse looks like anymore (there is another thread on here about if your muse was a person). I have been doing a little bit of editing and critiquing which I think has saved me from going insane. And the Bransforums. This coffee shop. You all are awesome. It's nice to read how everyone is doing, to see your little triumphs, as well as your hardships. I guess what I'm saying is I'm glad to be on this little boat with you all! You're helping me get through my difficulties by sharing your thoughts and feelings.
Thanks.
"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine."
~ Ludwig van Beethoven

trixie
Posts: 311
Joined: January 4th, 2011, 12:35 pm
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by trixie » July 22nd, 2012, 9:07 pm

Beethovenfan wrote:So, my husband broke his leg back in May.
Gah! That sucks! Hope the healing process is coming along...
Beethovenfan wrote:Having this extra responsibility has pushed my writing to a back burner, and well, it's depressing. I feel so disconnected from my writing that I hardly know what my muse looks like anymore (there is another thread on here about if your muse was a person). I have been doing a little bit of editing and critiquing which I think has saved me from going insane. And the Bransforums. This coffee shop. You all are awesome. It's nice to read how everyone is doing, to see your little triumphs, as well as your hardships. I guess what I'm saying is I'm glad to be on this little boat with you all! You're helping me get through my difficulties by sharing your thoughts and feelings.
Thanks.
I just had lunch with a writing friend today who reminded me that Life Happens. If I am totally honest with myself, my energy toward writing has been on the back-ish burner since the day I returned to work after Vegas and found that my job was in chaos. Since then, I've been trying to balance too many things, all vying for the title of Most Important Thing To Do Today.

So while I might not have great stats to share for July, I do DESPERATELY love having this forum. I've pulled away from blogging and everything else. Right now, the world is too big. If I want to write and talk to people about it, I come here.

With all that being said, I pulled out the WIP over the weekend and am pleased to report I wrote ~1500 new words. Sometimes, it really is the "little things," you know?

User avatar
LurkingVirologist
Posts: 97
Joined: July 9th, 2012, 11:04 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by LurkingVirologist » July 23rd, 2012, 4:20 am

-25,000 words! Woot!

Seriously. I started July with a WiP draft that was a bit over 180K, and managed to slim it down to just under 155K. Chucked a few characters and a whole subplot that was oh so much fun to write, but just didn't have to be there. My goal was 160, so I'm thrilled with coming in under. I actually found that having an unpleasantly low target to hit made me tighten up my work a lot. I found a few words or phrases on almost every single page that could be mercilessly disposed of.

Now I get to sit on it for a minute and then decide whether I really want to shoot for the 150K mark or not. It's such a nice round number, but going from a first draft that was close to 200K down to a pretty tightly edited 155K seems like a big accomplishment. Or maybe I'm just being a chicken. Sigh. This is what I get for cooking up three MCs and two overlapping plot-lines. I blame Steven Erikson. He's permanently ruined my sense of scale. Anything less than 10 MCs and 300K words now seems 'novella' sized.

The ridiculous thing? Two of the MCs haven't even formally met, and won't until the end of the sequel I started drafting, which will probably hit the 150 mark easy. You'd think I didn't have a full-time job. /facepalm. Oh well, I have tickets to see The Kills next month 8-) . Complete non sequitur, but makes me feel better.

Cheers.
"Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic." -Carl Sagan

Mark.W.Carson
Posts: 233
Joined: December 15th, 2011, 9:20 am
Location: Northeastern US
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Mark.W.Carson » July 23rd, 2012, 7:38 am

That's still pretty darned hefty for a book. Have you considered making it into two separate books, and perhaps building on those relationships, with some allusions to plot devices in the first book that come to fruition in the second?

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Sommer Leigh » July 23rd, 2012, 9:49 am

LurkingVirologist wrote: Now I get to sit on it for a minute and then decide whether I really want to shoot for the 150K mark or not. It's such a nice round number, but going from a first draft that was close to 200K down to a pretty tightly edited 155K seems like a big accomplishment. Or maybe I'm just being a chicken. Sigh. This is what I get for cooking up three MCs and two overlapping plot-lines. I blame Steven Erikson. He's permanently ruined my sense of scale. Anything less than 10 MCs and 300K words now seems 'novella' sized.

Cheers.
Totally unsolicited advice, but you might want to do some research on the acceptable word counts in your genre because 150,000 is high for all areas of sci-fi for adult, particularly for a debut author. Most of the adult word counts for sci-fi are between 90,000-120,000, with 120,000 being the exceptions, not the rule.

This is a really good guide on word counts from Colleen Lindsay who works at Penguin. The post is a little old, but every post I've ever seen on word count goals have lined up with her recommendations. This is the one I keep bookmarked.

Here is a quote from her post on sci-fi word counts: http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/o ... ength.html
science fiction & fantasy = Here's where most writers seem to have problems. Most editors I've spoken to recently at major SF/F houses want books that fall into the higher end of the adult fiction you see above; a few of them told me that 100k words is the ideal manuscript size for good space opera or fantasy. For a truly spectacular epic fantasy, some editors will consider manuscripts over 120k but it would have to be something extraordinary. I know at least one editor I know likes his fantasy big and fat and around 180k. But he doesn't buy a lot at that size; it has to be astounding. (Read: Doesn't need much editing.) And regardless of the size, an editor will expect the author to to be able to pare it down even further before publication. To make this all a little easier, I broke it down even further below:

---> hard sf = 90k to 110k
---> space opera = 90k to 120k
---> epic/high/traditional/historical fantasy = 90k to 120k
---> contemporary fantasy = 90k to 100k
---> romantic SF = 85k to 100k
---> urban fantasy = 90k to 100k
---> new weird = 85k to 110k
---> slipstream = 80k to 100k
---> comic fantasy = 80k to 100k
---> everything else = 90k to 100k


There are always exceptions to the rule, but it's hard enough getting published, let alone trying to thread yourself into the "exceptions" catagory.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Sommer Leigh » July 23rd, 2012, 10:03 am

So two things happened this weekend. It actually reminded me of Beethovenfan's story.

1) I went and saw the new Batman movie. I'm not going to spoil it, but I wasn't that thrilled about it. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn't following up the 2nd one with the Joker, which was one of the best told stories I've ever seen. However, when I was watching Dark Knight Rises (which my husband and I jokingly said should have been called John Blake Rises instead) my writer-self kept getting in the way of the enjoyment of the movie by pointing out the storytelling problems that were bothering me. One was the whole concept of not starting your story in the right place. In the movie there's about one hour of build up and backstory that's all a little bit yawn-worthy. Batman's not even in this part of the movie and Bruce Wayne makes just a few appearences. I brought my misgivings home and took a look at my own WIP to make sure I was starting the story at the good parts. It helped me work through a few exercises that I found extremely valuable.

2) I injured my foot again at the gym. Like, I almost face planted on the treadmill right when I hit the 1 mile mark. I ended up going home in tears, icing and elevating and not moving from the couch for eight hours. I watched a lot of television and discovered I don't really like watching television. I like television stories, but clearly I am unable to do just one thing anymore. I constantly felt like I needed to be reading while watching, or surfing the internet while watching. It was a weird revelation. On the plus side, I finally finished the first season of American Horror Story and I got a few more episodes into the second season of The Walking Dead. Both excellent shows.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

User avatar
Hillsy
Posts: 303
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 4:33 am
Location: Gravesend, UK
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Hillsy » July 23rd, 2012, 11:14 am

Sommer Leigh wrote: Totally unsolicited advice, but you might want to do some research on the acceptable word counts in your genre because 150,000 is high for all areas of sci-fi for adult, particularly for a debut author. Most of the adult word counts for sci-fi are between 90,000-120,000, with 120,000 being the exceptions, not the rule.
#This opinion pertains purely to Fantasy#
While I won't disagree with what Coleen said, I will disagree a little with your advice (even if only in tone, as opposed to fact)....

Fact 1: a number of debut adult fantasys (moreso than Sci-fi my poorly informed intuition tells me) are waaaay above the 120K mark.
Fact 2: all novels should be as good as you can make them, irrespective of length.
Fact 3: Length does not infer quality, And that's the long and short of it (HAHA...I made a funny!!!).

Take those facts and apply to them two quotes from two famous writers
Quote 1 (Orson Scott Card): "A novel is as long or as short as its needs to be to tell the story."
Quote 2 (Brandon Sanderson): "I kept on writing 200K books because that was what I wanted to write. I just made them good enough they couldn't NOT publish me"

Therefore, write whatever you want to, make it as good as you can, improve by the end, keep writing, and word counts will mean nothing. You could look at word counts, if only as a guide to see how high the hurdle you have to jump is, but then that applies to any part of the publishing process....And in the end it can only be demoralising, just as listing the mathmatical probablilities of getting published in the first place. You write because you want to, So why write something you're not entirely happy with??

What would you rather publish: a 200K novel you love, or a 120K novel that feels hollow and undercooked??
What is a publisher going to want to read: A 200K story written with passion, or a 200K story with 80K words ripped out of it??

Sorry Sommer, I just disagree, I think there's no value in not writing the story you want to, and there's a ton of books out there that bypass those wordcount limits, all of varying 'subjective' quality (I'm pretty sure Gail Martin's The summoner is over 120K, and I didn't think much of that at all). So my counter advice would be to ignore the word counts, but learn to guage how much space a plot and a style needs to "work"


On a completely side rant: nothing makes me want to physically educate someone like the insistance that any book over 100K is padded and overwritten. God, the conceit!!! fact, any story can be boiled down to a handful of words; the rest is just padding. Therefore, EVERY BOOK is essentially 99.99% padding. Telling me that anything over 99,900 words of padding is too much is like saying that Vin Diesel is clinically obese purely because of his BMI! It's about muscle mass, and bone density, and build, and natural weight - in the same way a novel is about pacing, and character arcs, and complexity and style.

Anyone, Anyone, who looks at a single number and intentionaly supplants the correct phrase "I don't think I'd like a book that long" with "This book is too long" is guilty of either ignorance or hubris.

Graeme o'Winnipeg
Posts: 18
Joined: July 1st, 2012, 12:40 pm
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by Graeme o'Winnipeg » July 23rd, 2012, 11:27 am

Claudine,

I have a pipe dream about one day, if ever I became a rich writer, rather than buying big houses, I'd invest in a local writer's hang-out that would be a cafe a la Starbucks, open to the public but an exclusive attraction for writers. There would be some accomodation upstairs, so that writers traveling through on conferences or research, etc, could stay and spend their time writing with their other friends in the network. A cute idea. But I don't daydream as much as I used to...

User avatar
CharleeVale
Posts: 553
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 3:16 am
Contact:

Re: The Coffee Shop - JULY

Post by CharleeVale » July 23rd, 2012, 11:35 am

Hillsy wrote: Sorry Sommer, I just disagree, I think there's no value in not writing the story you want to, and there's a ton of books out there that bypass those wordcount limits, all of varying 'subjective' quality (I'm pretty sure Gail Martin's The summoner is over 120K, and I didn't think much of that at all). So my counter advice would be to ignore the word counts, but learn to guage how much space a plot and a style needs to "work"

On a completely side rant: nothing makes me want to physically educate someone like the insistance that any book over 100K is padded and overwritten. God, the conceit!!! fact, any story can be boiled down to a handful of words; the rest is just padding. Therefore, EVERY BOOK is essentially 99.99% padding. Telling me that anything over 99,900 words of padding is too much is like saying that Vin Diesel is clinically obese purely because of his BMI! It's about muscle mass, and bone density, and build, and natural weight - in the same way a novel is about pacing, and character arcs, and complexity and style.

Anyone, Anyone, who looks at a single number and intentionaly supplants the correct phrase "I don't think I'd like a book that long" with "This book is too long" is guilty of either ignorance or hubris.
Sommer has a good point. Of course you want to write the story you want to, nobody wants you to write a book you hate! But it is good, especially in this changing publishing climate, to be conscious on the norms and expectations.

I don't think anyone is saying that book that are over 100K are over written. I love many books that are over 100K. But with agent's looking for a reason to turn you down, it's better to give them what they want. Have them sign you first, then you can be the exception all you want. Brandon Sanderson was only ever really interested in publishing with Tor, which deals exclusively in fantasy of high word counts. So he was writing what was best for his career.

Yes, write the book you want. However long you want. Make it excellent. But just be conscious of the realities of this business--they can be harsh.

CV

*edited for typos
Last edited by CharleeVale on July 23rd, 2012, 11:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests