Monday, May 14, 2012

Michael Offutt's Slipstream Blog Tour

Morning, readers. Before I hand the reins to Michael, I just want to say a few things about my friend. He jumped on the scene (or at least I discovered him) about a year and a half after I started blogging. Right from the get go, Mike was shocking, honest, and even occasionally highly opinionated. But I learned to love him for who he was pretty quickly. We bloggers are part of such a wonderful community, and especially within the writing/book blogging community, many of us are close friends. But Mike has always ridden a wave of his own making. He's not afraid to tell the truth, and he's not afraid to say what he really feels, and I really respect him for it.

Now, I asked him to talk about word count today, because it's kind of my bane. This blog is yours, Mike. Take it away:

I’ve known Matthew for some time now. Aside from being my gossip partner, I get the sense that Matthew (like myself) goes to war with word count. I remember reading a post he did on Jessica Bell’s blog where he said he trimmed his novel down to 300,000 words, and I compare this to my own episode of cutting where I trimmed SLIPSTREAM from 180,000 words to 120,000 words. After I cut 60,000 words from the manuscript, what I had left was bare bones (this was really hard to do). I feel fortunate to have found a traditional publisher willing to put it out there for the world to see. But yeah…I hate the word count monster. I guess I just have too much to say, and I think really big. Sometimes those kinds of ideas take room to come to fruition. The only trouble is, when you are an unknown, traditional publishers don’t like fat novels.

Recently, I’ve been working on the sequel. It’s at 150,000 words and might end up at 160-170,000 words by the time I’m finished.

I’m facing the word count monster again. But having published one book at 120,000 words might give me the writing chops that my publisher might let me slide in with 150,000. Oh well…word count monster I have faced you and defeated you before! I shall do it again!

So aside from Matthew and I, are there any others out there who war with word count? Care to share your stories?

I have a contest for the release of my book.  I will pick one random person who comments on this post to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card and a SLIPSTREAM jeweled spider (the same person wins both prizes). The jeweled spider really sparkles in the sunlight. I hope whoever wins it really likes it. Also, please make sure that your email is linked to your signature in some way J. And yes, the crystal spiders play an important role in my book.

1)      Mark my book “To Read” on Goodreads.
2)      Comment on this post.
3)      Tweet this post if you have twitter. You don’t have to sign-up for twitter. It’s the “honor” system. 

That’s it. I will choose a winner on Saturday, May 19th.  And thank you, Matt, for having me on your fine blog.

You're welcome, Mike! And here's where you can find slipstream:


And here's a pretty thing:


Jessica Bell said...

Congrats on your book, Michael! :) Sometimes I wish I had words to CUT from my work. I always end up having to add words. I will tweet and add your book on Goodreads! :)

Ciara said...

I have the opposite problem. My book is short when I'm done. I have to go in and layer. I tend to write more of an extended outline with dialogue in the first draft. :) Congrats again, this is so exciting.

Creepy Query Girl said...

*oh shiny!* Love the spider! My first book was around 130k and I managed to trim it down to under 100k. It was a YA historical paranormal. But now that I've moved on to bigger and better projects- I've realized it would do much better as an MG novel so I'm going to have to attack the word count moster yet again and cut the thing down by half! Great post!

becca said...

the book looks good totally going to have to read oh and here is link to my tweet!/becca112971/status/201992656421781506

SA Larsenッ said...

Geez, when I first started writing, the idea of word count wasn't even a part of my vocabulary. Now, I tend to prepare before I start writing in order to avoid massive over wordage. lol (At least I try. lol)

Congrats on the book, Michael!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have the opposite problem - too few words. Guess that comes from not being a fan of long descriptions. I get the bare bones on paper and then build from that point.

Ted Cross said...

I'm mixed on this. My epic fantasy novel did run long for a new novelist, coming in at around 144,000 words. But my sci-fi thriller is so lean and mean that I'm worried it won't be long enough!

farawayeyes said...

Ah Michael, found you again. You know how badly I want that spider, so I'm hoping that each comment on your blog tour gains me another entry.

Hah! You dare ask the 'Queen of Verbosity' about word count. If I ever slay that dragon, you'll be the first to know.

Laura Pauling said...

Congrats on your release, Michael!

I don't usually battle with word count but I face my own battles so it probably evens out. I just know having to cut that many words - is a lot! :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on your book Michael. Yes, word count is my bane too. My MG was way too long at 80,000 words. I cut 80,000 words through multiple revisions and the book works much better. Now, I'm trying to be more conscious of word count as I write. Because it's no good if the word count is so high that a publisher or agent won't look at it.

Donna K. Weaver said...

That spider is too cool.

Already got my copy of the book.

Elise Fallson said...

When I hit 100,000 words in my wip with a final chapter still unfinished, I did a little dance and celebrated all by myself. Then a good friend of mine (a published author) told me for a first novel, I should aim no higher than 80,000. (O_O) I stopped dancing.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I've gone both ways--stories that are really short and others that are very long. It's a lot easier to cut than to try adding words.

Emily White said...

Congratulations on your book, Micheal!

My problem is the exact opposite of your yours. I always write very light the first time around and end up having to add at least 15,000-20,000 words.

LTM said...

shocking? honest? occasionally highly opinionated??? I don't think we can have any of that around here. ;p

I fight the opposite word-count monster--not enough words. And I still blame my undiagnosed adult ADD.

Best of luck to Mike! :o) <3

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Word count is the bane of my existence. The edits on my wip cause the novel to jump form 78 K to 90 K. I've been trying to cutting it back. So far I've managed to cut 5 K. The word counts in my genre (YA suspense) tend not to equal that of YA paranormal and fantasy. *goes back to cutting*

Jay Noel said...

I come from the Sidney Sheldon school of writing. By nature, I'm pretty verbose, but I write and edit with a samurai sword. Stripped down and simple is what I hope to end up with.

And it's hard to do for talky-talky people like me.

Congrats on the success of Slipstream!

Sarah Ahiers said...

I actually don't war with word count. It always comes out fine for me. I'm not sure why. I must just be lucky or something.
And, woo hoo! I already tweeted about this post today, before i even saw the rules! I am on the ball!

Carolyn Abiad said...

I usually come up too short, then I have to go in and expand.

Congrats on Slipstream!

Nancy Thompson said...

The first draft of my first book clock in at 80,000. When I was done revising, it stood at 97,000, so I guess I work well in that respect. The outline on my second book is already 100 pages & I'm only half way done, so I'm a bit worried I'll run high, but I don't think my pub will mind. Good luck with your release!

Briane P said...

The best advice I ever got on trimming words was from an editor who wanted to consider an (as-yet-unpublished) novel I wrote but felt at 150,000 words it was too long. She wanted it around 80,000, and suggested this:

Save a copy of your book, and then create a second version that you call "edited."

CUT everything you can from that book -- secure in the knowledge that your "real" book is safe and sound, there on the disk drive.

Using that, I cut out about 45,000 words and I'm not done yet. I'm not sure the book is better for it, and I may indie publish it myself after all, but it's been interesting thinking about what I'd cut and what I'd leave.

Libby said...

I do have a word count problem, but mine's just the opposite. I write too quickly and it's a fight to get the amount of words I need to make a work novel length.

Samantha Jean said...

I'm struggling with my word count now too. For my genre, the average should be between 80K and 120K, but I've heard it's prefered to be around the 100K mark. I've gotten it down to 106K (16K removed) and still have more to cut, so maybe I'll hit my mark. I knew I wasn't the only one out there with this issue, but it is still reassuring to have others confess to the same problem. Thanks for your post. The book cover is beautiful btw.
mr.boardgame AT yahoo DOT com

LynNerdKelley said...

Wow, cutting 60,000 words is a heck of a lot. I don't usually worry about word count. At least, not yet!

Christina Lee said...

Hi Michael! That cover ROCKS, and ooooh the pretty jeweled spider!! As a person who underwrites my novels, those numbers blow my mind! :D

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Hey Matt, can you correct the spelling of my last name? It's spelled "Offutt" with two "t's" and not one in the title. :) *hugs you are fantastic!

@Jessica: Thanks Jessica. I appreciate the support.

@Ciara: Thank you oh writer of the coolest angel stories.

@Creepy: Thank you. I hate the word count monster.

@becca: Thanks becca :)

@SA Larsen: I try to. I just don't succeed.

@Alex: If that approach works, don't fix it.

@Ted: Well you have Hollywood to fall back on, Ted

@Faraway: LOL

@Laura: cutting words is like cutting skin...painful.

@Natalie: How big is MG supposed to be?

@Donna: I think the spider is cool too.

@Elise: Yeah. It's important for newbies to understand word count.

@P.T.: I don't know if I agree.

@Emily: I wish that I had your issue. LOL

@LTM: Thank you

@Stina: Best of luck to you

@Jay: Thank you sir!

@Falen: Thank you miss.

@Carolyn: Thank you.

@Nancy: I appreciate your kind words :)

@Briane: Spoken like a pro sir!

@Libby: I kinda wish I had that problem.

@Samantha: I love my book cover.

@LynNerd: Yeah. It's brutal cutting that kind of word count.

Old Kitty said...

Oh it's that gorgeous jeweled spider! I love it!! Yay!

As for word count - I think that's why I like writing flash fiction - I tend to run out of things to say and just want to end the story! LOL! Take care

Belle said...

I'm part way through Slipstream and finding it fascinating. You can leave me out of the contest since I already have it. Good luck on your blog tour!

Stella Telleria said...

Story of my life!!! :S
My first draft was up to 150,000 words at one point. I've got it down to 125,000 now, but I'm embarking on another revision where I hope to trim another 10,000 to bring it in at 115,000. Then a good friend/betta reader suggested that we should get it under 100,000 since it's my first novel and it would make it more sellable. AHHHHHHHH! The torture!!! Make it stop!

Anonymous said...

I tend to be too sparse with words and have to add...

Cherie Reich said...

I usually have the opposite problem. I always find I need to bulk up my novels. It's interesting how that works.

Tonja said...

I just write the basic story and then fill it out when I edit. Congratulations again on the release of your book.

Andrew Leon said...

You know, if you ignore the word count monster, he often gets upset and just goes away.

Actually, word count is one of those things that annoys the crap out of me. People don't mind reading long works if it's something they want to read. It's only agents and editors and publishers that really have an issue with the word count thing.

And, Matt, tell Michael to give me that spider!
I wants it...

Alyson Burdette said...

I also have the opposite problem. I'm always searching for ways to flesh my stuff out.

Rob and Lisa said...

I usually have the opposite problem, not enough words. I don't add enough description in my first draft usually.

Rick Daley said...

Congrats and good luck!!!

I don't usually battle word count on the high end, but I have in the past. I've found that the best way to trim is to re-write. It's the most time consuming and hardest way to go about it, but it's least likely to leave holes in the plot. Excising text is surgical, and depending on what you pull, it can be systemic and affect small lines throughout the entirety of a novel.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

@Christina: I love my cover! Thank you for saying so :)

@Old Kitty: alex thinks the spider is creepy, but I'm glad you like it.

@Belle: You could win a $5 Amazon card for another book, Belle. Not necessarily mine. I think you probably don't realize that so I'll leave you in.

@Stella: I agree. It sucks to cut cut cut.

@diamond: Not me.

@Cherie: Hmmm. A lot of people have commented with the same sentiment today. Maybe it's more "me" and less "you". *giggles

@Tonja: Thank you Tonja.

@Andrew: I think you have a good chance of getting one Andrew.

@Alyson: I don't have that issue at all.

@Rob and Lisa: Not I said the fly.

@Rick: I'm working with an editor now that may be able to pare it down some.

Sarah said...

Congratulations, Michael! Regarding word count ... well, my debut was rejected from at least one publisher for being too long (a debut YA at 99k), but it wasn't too much of an issue for most. YA in general is shorter, so there are a few more constraints. It hasn't yet been a big issue for me. I just write the story and edit it like crazy.

Shannon Cyr said...

Congrats on the release. I wish you nothing but success. :)

Brinda said...

I'm the person who has to add words. Lots of words.

Demitria said...

I'm with you...I had to cut a bit and still ended up with 100,000 wds :)

Helena said...

You are so much better at editing down than I am. I've kind 've got a new manuscript underway (I've been working on it only sporadically) and I'm determined to keep this new book short. Like under 100,000.

Lynda R Young said...

In my humble opinion it's easier to cut back from a high word count than to fill in from a low word count ;)

Rek said...

I admire people who have deep pockets filled with word currency, in fact considering converting the wips into novellas...even my short stories are a struggle with word count, never going beyond 3000 words, funny since I love well done descriptions in other's works.
Maybe that's the reason I fell in love with flash fiction (less then 1000 words) when I rediscovered them two years ago.
Good luck with the book and the editing.

J.L. Campbell said...

Howdy to both of you. Mike does say exactly what he thinks, which is refreshing.

When I hear about a humongous word count, I immediately think SF or Fantasy. These days, I seem to be coming in under the count in my own work. When it's time to edit, I do manage to bump things up a bit.

Wishing you success with the book, Mike.

Arlee Bird said...

This is the largest image I've seen of the cover. It's spectacular. I love the green.

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