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  • Writer's pictureE. A. Fournier

Too Long? Impossible!

Now, happy as a clam with my 120,000 word (and change) novel, I'm told by my publisher that books in my genre should be closer to 100,000 words.

Huh? Why? (Nothing makes a writer more defensive than being told something he didn't know that he suspects he should have known.) BUT I wrote it using just as many words as it took me to tell the story, not a single word more. If I could have told it in 100,000 words I would have. (Does that sound defensive?)

I hear muttering about bulky first drafts, the price of printing, or binding, and shipping.

I laugh and remind them that my book will be read on digital devices, where size has no bearing, right?

They just shake their heads and mutter about bloated first drafts, current readers' attention-spans, literary tradition, reviewer expectations and debut novels.

I shake my head. Lose 20,000 of my words because today's readers and reviewers can't concentrate for very long? Seriously? Look, I'm in the middle of cover design and building a stupid online presence, I thought I was done with the writing part. (Does that sound whiny?)

And thus begins the great and painful edit cycle on the other side of when you thought you were done. I'm told this type of cutting is not unlike the stages of grief over the death of a loved one.

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