That was some party yesterday, wasn't it? No time for hangovers though, I have to clean up around here. *Sweeps confetti under the rug*. I've got a guest!
It's my absolute pleasure to welcome Annalisa Crawford from Wake up, eat, write, sleep to my blog today. (If she added 'blog' to that title, she'd have my whole life!) Annalisa's novella, Cat and the Dreamer was released on 14 February. Here's what you want to know:
As a teenager, Julia survived a suicide pact, while her best friend Rachel died. Julia’s only escape from her guilt, and her mother’s over-protection, is her imagination. When Adam arrives in the office, Julia’s world takes a startling turn as she realises reality can be much more fun than fantasy. Finally she has someone who can help her make the most of her life. But can she allow herself to be truly happy?
Buy it here:
Now, take it away Annalisa!
Firstly, a big thank you to Sarah for inviting me over to her blog today. Posting on someone else’s blog is a bit like being inside your TV and looking out, slightly disconcerting but lots of fun.
Did you know that War and Peace has approximately 570k words (a Google search brings up varying counts – that’s an average), To Kill a Mockingbird has 99k, but The Color Purple only has 67k? I did - because I’ve previously Googled them (and before Google, I searched Yahoo!). I used to be obsessive about word counts. In fact before the internet, I’d grab books from my shelves just to count words:
Average words on a line x number of pages – 1000 or so for empty spaces = The Word Count.
And then I’d compare the counts to my own novels, fall short and feel disappointed. Put your hand up if you recognise yourself in this… erm… please tell me I’m not the only one!
I also – still – buy books based on their thickness. There’s nothing better than seeing a short novel on the shelves: if they can get published at that length, so can I! I’ve found some wonderful books doing this, but I also realised they were the exception to the rule.
In an attempt to increase my word count, (unpublished novel #1 for example, started life at 23.250 words) I developed The Method, otherwise known as Write & Delete - a six-point plan to increase my wordage:
1. write your story, preferably longhand
2. type up the first draft, editing and developing as you go
3. print out and then delete the file (or move it to another part of your hard drive if you’re not brave enough to delete it completely – just don’t look at it anymore)
4. read the print-out, make notes, scribble all over it, huge chunks of prose should appear as if by magic
6. return to #3, and repeat as many times as you choose.
BUT, WAIT… these days, is word count so important? Am I stressing about nothing?
When I wrote Cat and The Dreamer – the first version was written about seven years ago – I loved the story, I thought it was perfect, but I assumed it would never get published, solely based on the fact it was only 22,000 words – too long for a short story magazine, far too short for a novel.
Seven years ago, if you remember, was before the explosion of ereaders and ebooks. And when that explosion happened, people were suddenly clamouring for books to read on their Kindles. Now there are Nooks, iPads and smart phones too, the clamour has grown. Can you imagine reading War & Peace on your smart phone?
Shorter pieces, it seems, are now much more desirable than they are when printing volume costs and unit costs have to be taken into consideration. Based on this, and after some thought-provoking comments on my blog, I pulled Cat and The Dreamer out of its drawer and submitted, and the rest is history!
It's taken me a long time to realise it, but in today's market size is not important. People are selling individual short stories of 2000 words, and making a name for themselves. Simply write the story you want to write, make it the best it can be, and there will be more of a market than you think!
Thank you so much to Annalisa for visiting, and for making me feel more hopeful about all my work that doesn't seem to fit any known word count! Do you think word count is still important? Or do you think 'anything goes' these days?