Addition by Division

I suppose I would have done a little more research into trying to get published before yesterday if I REALLY thought that my writing was good. But I am attributing my lack of publishing research to the fact that I am not going to be bothered at all if this entire project remains my own personal collection of stories that no one else ever reads. I am not doing this to make money or be famous, which rocks, because I can relax and just write all of the insanely fantasy-centric stuff that is in my head.

But that being said… what I did read while scanning the internet these past few nights has given me pause. For a litany of reasons, most fantasy publishers and agents seem to be looking for stories that are between 90k and 120k in length. A book this size would typically be about 400 pages in hardcover. I read an excellent post by a literary agent specializing in fantasy about the economics of word count. Fascinating stuff. It involved the limited space on bookstore shelves, the cost of printing books that are physically thick versus thin, the ease of marketing series over standalone works, and about thirty other factors. I later came across another agent search website that said something to the effect of “if you happen to have created a moonglop-monster of a book that is longer than 140k words, whatever you do, don’t state that fact in your agent query letter!” And I have seen quotes from some of my favorite current authors thanking their publishers for taking “the risk” of publishing their 300k word epics.

Well. Talk about news to get you thinking! My book, “The First Proving”, is between halfway and 2/3 completed as far as the plot is concerned. And it is about 160k words. Ummm… Yikes! As a first time writer, I think that maybe I should re-think my approach. Because even though I don’t mind if I am never published, I certainly think it would be fun.

So I am currently investigating addition by division. Keeping the story the same, but chopping up what I have written into an already-completed first book (part one of The First Proving, working title, “Emergence”), and arranging the rest that I have and am going to write later into two other, small books. Making this first book into a trilogy of shorter books, in other words.

This is crazy exciting. Why? Because I have been just tickled to death for the past six months about the idea of finishing my first book ever. Because I have wanted to write a book since I was a little kid, and never ever managed to follow through on one each time I came up with an idea and got started. And because if I do what I described above, then I have ALREADY finished my first book… like, a month and a half ago. Not this coming fall or winter like I was expecting.

THAT is exciting!

I am going to discuss this with the Genius Wife for a few days, and send some emails out to a few of the powers-that-be out there who might be able to give me some advice. But I think that this might be the right way to go for a first time writer like myself.

Stay tuned!



4 thoughts on “Addition by Division

  1. Steve Not-so-Fresh

    Congrats Kev! I am definitely looking forward to reading these books. It’s fun to think that some day some kid might use your story to inspire his/her imagination for a game with their friends or even a book of their own.

    Awaiting the first draft. . .

  2. Nick

    ! If you set out to tell your story – tell it! Don’t worry about rules made by publishers. What if the greatest part never gets written because you were worried about word count?
    Besides, if you do try to publish, the most painful part is ahead of you, when you put your finished product into the hands of an editor. When you watch what than uncaring soul will do to your baby you’ll wish you had written 500k!
    I say write, write,write. I’m buying the first copy even if I have to pick it up in a Uhaul!

  3. thetomewriter Post author

    U da man, Nick. Rest assured, I am not even CONSIDERING writing less – especially considering the editing process you mentioned! The story I want to tell is going to be written in full. I just think that I might break it up into multiple books.


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