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Adventures in Writing, Reading & Book Culture

Doubt? Never (almost)

I woke up at 4.30 this morning with the thought “You need to scale back the ‘art roundtable’ scene; cut, condense, and leave it mercurial.” I got up, turned on the light, and made a couple notes, wrote a sentence that I didn’t want to lose, then went back to sleep.

At seven, I sat reading the begining of the scene I’d written over the last week (12 pages, about 4,500 words; lots going on, but not hyper reality events; lots of good characterization; a surprise moment that moves the narrative, and narrator, forward) and I decided quickly that I didn’t need to cut much, and definitely not wreck the scene by making it a four or five paragraph narrative. Someone wrote, “Dialogue is story; dialogue is character.” (I’m too lazy to look up who said this now, even though I have internet at … which is what I’m typing into now).

The reason WHY I thought I needed to cut back to scene … to halve it … was my thoughts that this book is going to be long. So, okay, I write long books. I like to read long books. So do others, by the looks of recent sales of such tomes as “Shantaram”, “The Museum of Innocence” and “A Book of Memories”. Each of these is well over 250,000 words. Odd, then, that so many agents have on their websites “110,000 words should be the maximum” word count.

Anyway, I can always trim scenes later; the focus now needs to be writing the story that needs to be told.

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