Saturday, 30 June 2007

Checking in

First of all hello to CTaylor - yes, I did buy yet more 'how to write' books last time I was in town. I found quite a few written specifically for children's writers so see how much damage you can do to your bank account next time you're in Borders or Waterstone's! I ought to steer clear for a while, just until my council tax is paid, along with my contact lens direct debit and other unpleasantnesses...Anyhoo; the books I bought were Writing Fiction by Alan Wall & Gill Paul (reads like a university text in places; not your average 'fun' how-to-write book), one written for children's and YA writers, Ideas for Children's Writers by Pamela Cleaver and completely out of left field, Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku. We'll just call it research as I honestly do have an idea for a time travel/alternate universe story and it's shaping up to be YA rather than adult.

Writing's going well; reached the halfway mark on Dark-Adapted Eyes although my progress meter doesn't show this; I've written a fair bit in longhand and I only update on my blog when I've transcribed everything I've written onto a word document.

How's everyone else doing? And what are your writing moods? Mine is pleasantly tired; I feel like I've earned a rest for what remains of the evening but feel confident enough to know I'll get quite a bit written tomorrow as well.

7 comments:

leatherdykeuk said...

Will you give us a review of your purchases when you've read them, please?

CAMILLA said...

I have always enjoyed writing, but I am only an amateur Chris. I have had quite a few letters published in newspapers, and a few short stories and poems in magazines.I began writing my one and only story for children about ten years ago, when I was a pupil of the London School of Journalism, on a creative writing course. Sadly to say I did not get time to finish the story, but I still have the unfinished manuscript, maybe one day I will finish it. I like the title of your new novel by the way.
Dont let me loose in a book store, books are one of my passions!
Warm Wishes to you Chris.
Camilla.xx

B.E. Sanderson said...

I was running pretty good with everything I've been doing both in writing and in the rest of life, but I had to take yesterday off. No words, no blogging. =o(

Today is editing day, so I should be able to get some work done without worrying about my head exploding. =o)

The only writing books I've read were 'The Art of Fiction' and The Art of Nonfiction' by Ayn Rand. Unfortunately the fiction one is out of print now, but I think it's still available as an audiobook.

A. Writer said...

How's everyone else doing?

Me? I'm the same as I was at the Coffee Break on Friday.

CTaylor said...

Hi Nicola

Ha! I bought a 'How to..' write children's books myself a couple of days ago but didn't fess up to it on t'internet!

I nearly bought the Pamela Cleaver book you bought but ended up buying her other book "Writing a Children's Book" instead. Was slightly shocked to find out that the max a children's book can be in 40,000 words. That means novel #1 (I'm planning on going back to it after I've finished novel #2) which is currently 52,000 words has to be finished and then MASSIVELY pruned. It's going to be a mammoth task!

Wrote 1,300'ish words of novel #2 today and have another 9,000'ish words to go before I can call it finished. I think I'm going to feel a bit lost when it's done - and also relieved - oh and celebratory because I will actually have finished a novel! So am feeling a mixture of woo-hoo means scared at the moment!

Nichola said...

I know I'm unpublished so I can hardly be called an authority on this but there's no way a children's book should be limited to 40,000 words. Even my first drafts are longer than that. If you want proof just look at how many children's books are over that length in Borders or Waterstone's. Harry Potter, Eragon, Endymion Spring, The Book Thief...there are thousands of books published each year that are at least double 40k. Personally I don't think you could tell much of a story in that number of words; it's very short. Think Chronicles of Narnia. I bet these days Lewis could have got away with publishing all seven books in one volume!

So don't shred your book just because of what one (incorrect) writer said. The proof is all around you on your bookshelves. Your book should be as long as the story dictates.

It just so happens mine will end up around about 60k, and I'm not lopping a third of it off on one person's advice. My book will be as long (or short) as it needs to be.

KeVin K. said...

Go pick out a selection of children's of YA novels similar to what you're writing. Six or seven volumes that look like something you'd like to see your name on.
With each book:
1. Count the pages with type.
2. Subtract the number of chapters from the page count (because between the white space at the end of a chapter and at the beginning of a chapter you lose a page).
3. Count the number of lines on a full page of type.
4. Multiply the number of pages by the number of lines of type on each page.
5. Put a zero to the right of your total. (Oh, you could do it the hard way and pick ten lines at random and count the words in each line and find the average number of words in a line, but odds are it's going to be between 9 and 11, so just write the zero and pretend you multiplied by ten.)
6. Hey, presto, in about ten minutes you have an useful approximation of the normal word count for a novel of the type you're writing.

BTW: The Great Gatsby, Brave New World, The Old Man and the Sea -- all clocked in at under 50k, iirc. Short novels can be pwerful.