Time to set down and work hard!

Yea, no views as of yet in the Bflyzone, but that’s just as well. I’ll keep writing anyway because that’s how I roll. If all else fails, I’ll just pretend I’m writing to Aric or something.
First, I would like to proudly announce that my book’s word count is officially under 100,000 words. Yea again. I’ve got another quarter of the book to shrink down, so I think I may hit my goal of 80,000 words! (or between 80 and 90 thousand).
What a process this has been! I’ve been reviewing the advice I’ve gotten about books in the last few years and I just now realized that a bunch of it is crap. Sure it’s better to over write than under write, but that also means you have to prepare for many hours of destruction. (That’s what I call editing. Writing is building and editing is destroying.)
The last few months have been all about destroying for me. My book started at 150,000 words! Holy crap! I was told it needed to be around 80,000. I have learned a lot from this experience though.
First, a lot of little touches may have to go. I know its fun to be crazy nuts, but if it doesn’t move the story along and you need word count…cry and say goodbye.
The most important thing I learned of all of this is you don’t have to blast away perfectly good scenes when you can fight redundancy, get rid of adjectives, and over used words instead. Of course there are some scenes that can easily get the ax. Those are fine just to get rid of, but there are some that can be saved.
Cutting scenes is like ripping an arm off. IT HURTS! This is my first book so I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to. That’s the price one must pay when one is learning.
How many arms have I ripped off? Several, but there are three and possibly a fourth that I am hoping I can sew back on to my manuscript after its been properly shaved down to size. I’ll just have to hope all goes well in the editing room.


Wacky Word Count

Bfly here. Welcome to the Bfly Zone.
I’ve been chomping away at the word count in my romance novel, To Love a Beast. When you have to do a significant amount of editing, you learn a lot about your writing style. Here are a few tidbits I learned about mine.

First, I didn’t realize how redundant I am. I like to say the same thing several times but in different ways. I like to repeat myself, and many times. In all seriousness, I learned to say what I need to say once, and get rid of all the copycats.
Next, adjectives adjectives adjectives. You don’t need quite as many as you think. Sometime the verb is strong enough without the adjective. I knocked several thousand of those little buggers out of my book.
Another is just, just. I like to say just quite a lot in my writing. That’s one that you can use the find and replace feature on your Word doc and just go to town.
Also, the word that. You’d be surprised how many you can get rid of. I believe I got rid of over a thousand of them.
Then there are those terrible cliches that make everyone cringe. Gotta git rid of the damn flipity flap!
Compound sentences. Most of the time you can get rid of half. I’ll give you an example. “She sighed, and then placed her head in her hands.” Great sentence right? Not if you’re cutting for word count. Stuff like this is going to get nom nommed by the backspace button. With something like this, I would either get rid of the front clause, or the back clause. It all depends on which action is more important to the story. If it’s neither, get rid of all of it.

And while I’m on the subject, damn my characters like to sigh a lot. Here a sigh, there a sigh. If you find your characters sighing every other line there might be a problem. Get rid of it!
Huge blocks of narration that just reiterates how the character is feeling over and over and over again… Extract anything important and then snow plow it off. Also get rid of anything cutesie. It may have been fun in a first draft, but pop culture from now won’t fly in a book that takes place in early 1800’s England.
Finally, show, don’t tell. You should know that. I should know that. It’s not the ultimate rule, but it needs to be taken into consideration. Another part of showing and not telling is what I like to call “the no shit statement.” It looks like this… Her hands shivered as the snow drifts grew thick and tall all around her. She rubbed her chapped hands to create any kind of warmth, but it wasn’t working. She pulled her thin hoodie around her, but it was not enough to shelter her from the biting wind. She was freakin’ cold!… We all know she’s cold. I spent the three sentences telling the reader she was. Unless your reader is very dense, and most of the time she is not, you don’t need to say she is cold when it is obvious. It’s not like a comp paper. the goal is not to tell them, tell them, and tell them again (Thanks Ernie).

Last I want to give you an update on my word count. When I finished the first draft of my book it was at 150,000 words. When I started querying agents it was at 125,000. When I was told that the magic number was 80,000, my book was at 109,000 words. Today, I am a little less than half way through a major cut and my count is 103,000. I’m thinking after this pass I might end up somewhere in the 90,000 word range.
My goal is to be able to cut enough flipity flap to be able to add my prologue chapter 1, and a few really neat scenes near the end…else you’re going to see a lot of flash backs in book 2. I do like to recycle, so I cut and paste everything I have cut from the real book into a crap folder. You never know when these things will come in handy.

Until next time, remember, if you see a hippie selling tie dye on the side of the road, buy one…or ten.

Step 1, Blog

Hey guys and gals, this is my first post to the bflyzone. Otherwise known as the Butterfly Zone, but some bastard already took that name so bflyzone it is. I have decorated this page with a preformed theme in that putrid yellow you see in front of you. Hope you like it, cause it ain’t going nowhere. Loving this! Blogging! Freedom!

Okay, I actually have been dreading this part, but alas, the gods of the publishing world said I must do it or a falcon would swoop down and peck my liver out every single day for the rest of eternity, AND I BELIEVE THEM, so here I go head long into making myself visible on the internet. Woo hoo. Platforming!

I’ll start off at the easiest place possible…today. Today I spent 80 bucks on an online seminar given by writer’s digest. It was about how to get an agent and how to get published in the 21st century. It was given by Lori Perkins and Louise Fury from the Perkins agency. What an awesome seminar! I learned so so much. Thank you ladies. This is what I learned.

Number 1, I need to build a platform…you know, one of those things you stand on because if you don’t have a platform you would have to stand on the ground and… that doesn’t… make any sense at all. Dogs poop on the ground, and there’s grass there…and you do NOT want to stand on it.

When I think of platforms, I can’t help but think of Survivor. I don’t want to stand on that bastard for four hours. Screw that. Jeff, I’ll get naked for chocolate and peanut butter. Then I’ll hop into the gator infested water after I’ve shown the world my cooter! Platforms platforms. Don’t want one. Gotta have one. What can you do?

Next, my manuscript is too damn long! I’ve been playing manuscript strip poker for way way too long. Can’t I just let this baby live? Apparently I’m going to have to cut off a few more fingers and toes and maybe and arm or two before To Love a Beast will sell. I finished writing this book 2 years ago. 2 years! It has gone from 150,000 words when I started editing. Then to 125,000 words a few months ago, and today I have gotten it down to 109,000. SIGH! I think if I unraveled anymore story from this child of mine, I’d have to rip my heart out and slam it on the table. It reminds me of that old Wheezer song “Watch me unravel, I’ll soon be naked…” This manuscript is going to be naked before long. 80,000 words? I guess I’ll have to attempt it if I ever want to be published. Excuse me for being too deep.

I got another long lesson about writing query letters, between these two ladies and the queryshark, I should be a genius by now…no? Okay fine. There obviously is something wrong with my querying skills. I melted my query down to 250 words this morning at 4:00 AM. Aric told me to do it, so I did and it worked because Aric keeps his promises. I have written this same query a hundred times a hundred different ways. This is possibly the shortest the thing has ever gotten. I’m used to 10 pt font 8 pt font cramming every last word I could onto the page, but I did it this time. 250 words. Cuttin’ out the flab! This is a naked skeleton, baby. Can’t get any more edited than that. Perfection!….Well, I liked it.

They read a wonderful high concept literary masterpiece query letter as an example for us all. It was just oozing with creativity and depth. It’s one of those query letters that you read and just shit your pants. You feel like you just emerged from a Cylon goo bath after you read that one.
Mine doesn’t exactly ooze anything. I write regency. They use the “squirt over there” method. Okay, in all seriousness. How do you make people feel that feeling? That “oh my God, I have to represent this person” feeling? That’s how you know you have talent on loan from God.

I guess I’ll just have to continue on with my ever changing journey into publishing. I will let you guys know if anything strange or paranormal happens to me. Aric, my strange and paranormal boyfriend says hi, and in case you were curious, here is my awesome 250 word query letter.

To Love a Beast is a Regency romance novel about a young debutant named Madison Fitzwalter who is kidnapped by mistake. Judged to be a fitting substitute for his intended victim, Madison is blindfolded and seduced by man who awakens a passion inside of her the likes of which the sheltered innocent has never felt. At the end of her illicit night with a man only known to her as Teddy, Madison is returned to London manor from which she’d been plucked and left alone to face the scorn and rejection of the Ton. Madison attempts to salvage her reputation by accounting for her absence from the London ballroom, but the Ton considers her compromised leaving her heartbroken and inexplicably pining for the mysterious lover who had abandoned her.
Charles, The Duke of Radcliffe, never expects to see this girl again after he’d seduced and released her. Charles is painfully aware that he should never have touched the chit delivered to his bed by mistake, but the young beauty is just too tempting, and watching the next morning as she is ostracized by an unforgiving Ton only complicates matters. Unable to stand by as Madison’s future is ripped from her, The Duke, who has inexplicably fallen for the lady he soiled and deserted, makes plans to forge a new future for Madison, a future where he is her husband.

Remember, If you see a hippie on the side of the road selling tie dye, buy one or ten.