Friday, November 27, 2009

I Finished a Novel!

I just finished a novel-length story -- a little over 72K words -- for the first time ever yesterday. All the revising and poking and second-guessing is done; I finished it, backed it up to a flash drive, wrote up a synopsis for the submission letter and sent it off to my publisher. Whose office is closed till Monday, but hey, my book is going to be one of the first e-mails they see that morning, right? I hope they have a great weekend with lots of excellent food and go back to work in a wonderful mood. :D

It's an urban fantasy set in the same world as "Chasing Fear" and "Candy Courage," although there's no overlap with any of the earlier characters. I have no idea how long the process takes for something of this length -- either hearing back about acceptance [crossed fingers] or the editing and tweaking after -- but I'm pretty sure at least part of me will be boinging all the way through it.

This was a great Thanksgiving for me, and I'm definitely thankful to have gotten this finished and submitted. :D I hope everyone else had a wonderful day too, and has lots of excellent leftovers.

Positive thoughts and crossed sets of virtual fingers happily accepted. [grin]


PS -- am I the only one who gets all anal about chapter lengths? They don't have to be exactly the same length (which is just as well 'cause they're definitely not) but I like chapter lengths to be at least within spitting distance of one another. As a reader, if I'm going along and one chapter is twelve pages and the next is five and the one after that is nine, then fifteen, then three, then eleven... it feels jarring, as though the whole story is off-tempo. I can imagine a structural reason to do this, but if it's not clearly an effect the writer was trying for, deliberately and for a purpose, then I get uncomfortable while reading, like listening to a song where the musician can't keep the beat. So I spent most of the last day or two of my tweaking working on the lengths of a few chapters, trying to haul the worst of the outliers a bit closer to the bulk of the bell curve. Some came out better than others -- I'm not about to pull necessary info out of a chapter just for length, or add six hundred words of pointless padding -- but it's better than it was and I kept going until I hit diminishing returns. Anyone else obsess over that sort of thing...?


laughingwolf said...

grats on getting it done, angie!

sounds like a GREAT reason for thanksgiving :D

Steve Malley said...

First: YUSSSSSS!!!! (fist pump for finishing the novel!)

ahem. Now then... yeah, chapter length is definitely one thing I pay close attention to. I use longer chapters to slow the pace down, shorter ones to speed it up, and never let a chapter get so long that the average reader can't knock it down in ten or so minutes. Yup.

Happy Thanksgiving, btw!

Angie said...

LW -- thanks! And yes, definitely a reason for giving thanks. :D

Steve -- thank you! :D And right, I can see doing that, using chapter lengths to control the perceived pace of the story. [nodnod] That comes under the writer doing it deliberately and for a purpose.

I also agree that too-long chapters can be problematic. As a reader, I want a good, natural place to stop when it's time to make dinner or go to bed or whatever. I've read some books with ridiculously long chapters, and it gets to the point where I'm paying more attention to how long the chapter is -- and whether it'll ever end?! -- than I am to the plot. Definitely an issue. [wry smile]


Unknown said...

Congratulations! I saw your post on this on lj, but I can't actually open/comment very often these days as I am presented with blank pages. :(

Am looking forward to reading another story (especially a longer one) in this 'verse.
Cheers (and Happy Holiday/Thanksgiving/Weekend).

Angie said...

H -- how weird, I wonder what's causing that? :/ I'm glad you found me here, though. Thank you, I'll definitely be posting when I find out 1) whether it's accepted, and 2) when it's due out. :D


Spy Scribbler said...

Congratulations, Angie! That's awesome! I was quite frightened I'd never be able to write a whole novel after so many novellas, but then my last three or so novellas accidentally turned into novels, and I was relieved to never have to battle that self-doubt demon. You DID, though, and that's AWESOME!

My chapter lengths are very specific according to my publishers, and always the same, between 3800-4200 words, or the other is between 3000-4000 words. Working within that guideline has been a struggle, but I've learned to pace it. It often doesn't line up perfectly, and so even the awareness of where I'd PREFER to end my chapter helps me when writing without those guidelines.

Personally, I'm not crazy about such long chapters. 2K-3K is good for me.

Bernita said...

!! and !!!
I'm like Steve. Variable length chapters.Though perhaps without the same conscious deliberation.(I think they work out that way and I rationalize the result.)
However, I agree the default should be even length chapters.BTW, does chapter length affect the printing process?

Dawn Wilson said...

Congrats on finishing your novel! Good luck in getting it published.

I know what you mean about chapter lengths. I try not to make mine too long. If it IS too long, there better be a very good reason! Spending 10 pages talking about a street isn't one of them.

Angie said...

Bernita -- thanks and hugs back! {{}}

And so far as I know, chapter lengths don't affect printing at all. That's a factor of number of pages alone; they don't care what's on the page, whether it's a full page of type or half a page with a chapter header or whatever.

Dawn -- thank you! And right, if a chapter is really absorbing, I'm less likely to notice how long it is. I usually assume that if I do become aware of the length of the chapter as I read, there's some kind of problem.


Angie said...

Natasha -- ack! Sorry, I missed you! [hugz]

Yes, I've been writing for so many years and have never actually finished anything novel length. Even back when most of my plot bunnies were novel weight, I never managed to get all the way through to the end without having something run out, trickle away, slam shut, whatever metaphor one wants to use. Finally doing it, proving to myself that I can do it, is a huge milestone and a major relief.

My publisher doesn't dictate chapter lengths, thank goodness. the 3-4K requirement is pretty generous, but I have a couple of chapters which fell under 3K despite my best efforts, and forcing them any farther would've been a mistake, I'm pretty sure. :/