Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Three... Two... One... Novel Away!
Whooo! I'm happy it's out, and it's in good hands. Of course, I'm nervous, but I've developed a knack for forgetting about work that's out in circulation. I don't think I'll be obsessing about the fate of my MS for the whole 2-3 months the agent will take to get back to me.
He asked for the first four chapters, an excerpt starring the monster/creature of the book, and a full synopsis. I'd never done a synopsis for a novel before and had no idea how difficult it could be! I finally just went through the book, chapter by chapter, and hit all the high points in the synopsis (following the agent's advice from the panel I posted about last week).
The synopsis is definitely a tool I'll use directly after finishing the first draft of the next novel. Right away I could see huge pieces of the story I could carve out and still leave most everything relatively intact. One of the only sticking points the agent had about my book is how long it was. The finished first draft was 124k, and in editing I'd dropped it down to 119k... but he said that as a first time novelist I really need to be shooting for 100k or less. The reason, he said, is strictly economic... once the book surpasses 100k words, the printing prices jump. Which makes for a more expensive book at the end of the whole process... and in the end, a less attractive book for your potential reader. If no one knows your name, they're much less likely to spend $25-$29 for your 115k-word novel than they would $17-$21 for your 90k-word novel. So I need to find some fat to trim... and once I really buckled down on the synopsis, I found a few places I could cut. Mainly, any time I had a hard time figuring out how to explain a particular scene, I asked myself how important it was to the story, or if it was just writing for the sake of expressing my voice. Often it was the latter of the two.
So now I'm in the final edits of the MS, changing up a few things so I can have a polished copy if the agent wants to read the rest of it. And my baby is in someone else's hands... all I can do is send it out there with the best of my heart, and hope it won't come back too banged up.