Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Can't Get There From Here

Do construction projects ever get done on time? The road to my house has been closed since April. It was supposed to be done sometime in October, then November, but has now been postponed until January. I can't get to work from here. I have to go back roads which adds an extra mile in each direction. That adds up.

Editing my novel is similar to roadwork, so if I have to keep postponing my self-imposed due date, can I claim I've run into trouble with the labor unions and there is a five week leadtime for any materials I need to order?

As an example, at lunch, I fired up my computer, intending to zap out fifty words in one hour. I'm down to weeding out 4,111 words. At the end of the hour I was down to 4,118 words to delete.


I found a scene that needed tweaking.

Yes, I edited out probably 50 words, but I added 58. Maybe this is a job for some of Steve Jaquith's superfriends.


  1. Melanie. I know nothing about writing. I know a LOT about reading. I wonder if you are just using the "deleting" project as an avoidance measure. Send the book to a couple of agents as is. Or is there a particular agent that you want and you know she won't even lift it until you delete? It just sounds as if it'll be 2015 before you get it out there.

  2. Unfortunately, it is necessary. All of the agents I spoke with at PNWA encouraged me to whittle it down to 100,000 or less. One even went so far as to tell me not to send it if it was above 100,000.

    I've read that agents have so many queries that they are looking for reasons to cut their query stack down. If my book is over 100,000, I'm giving them ammunition to reject me without even reading it. I'm trying to give them no reason not to read the first fifty pages.

  3. I fire up the laptop in the lunch room and then someone has to tell me about THEIR KID, and how clever THEIR KID is, and how much they enjoy being a parent to THEIR KID, or how much THEIR KID costs at the orthodontist at the shoe store, at the grocery store. I'm inclined to pretend I am Jackie-O jogging through Central Park--when strangers spoke to her she kept right on if they didn't exist.

  4. Carol,

    I found an empty office being used as storage. I have pushed some of the boxes back on what used to be the desk, just big enough for my laptop. I go into the room, close the door part way, and keep the light off. I set a minute timer and, surprisingly, I can concentrate pretty well in the dark. Most everyone knows I do this and once in a while they come in and ask me a question, but for the most part they leave me alone for my hour.

    Of course, it helps having the sign on the door, "Dead Men Tell No Tales".

    Editor's Note: Melanie Sherman is joking when she says she has a threatening note on the door.


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