Obession with word count

I’ve just hit 44,165 words for MS#2.

This is very exciting (I know, my “what counts as exciting” scale is a bit sad) because that’s the same amount of words I had written when I finished my first draft of MS#1. I’m guestimating that I have another 12,000 words to go on MS#2, which is also very exciting because I’m not having to force words out like I felt I had to when writing MS#1.

From the authors whose blogs I follow, it seems like I’m a bit of an anomaly when it comes to word count issues; most tend to write too many words and end up having to cull a lot. I have the opposite problem. I spent my entire university-life writing papers that ‘got to the point’ and it’s taken me a while to realise that when writing fiction, it’s quite okay to expand a little. One of my major flaws is descriptive writing. I spend too much time on the plot and dialogue and I can go whole scenes not describing anything.

So if you’re wondering why the excited word count updates, it’s because I’m mighty proud every time I write another thousand words and see the little ticker go up.

The big ‘What now?’

It appears I have written a book in a genre that is most likely unpublishable at this point in time in Australia.

The last agent on the list has written back with good news and bad news. The good news is he likes my story, thinks it is well written, but alas, probably not marketable because of the ages of the protagonists.

My story could probably be classified in the up and coming genre of New Adult, which I never knew existed until I read Tammara Webber’s blog post about it. I’ve actually read some of these New Adult books, but always considered them to be Older-YA. Now, there are only three books that I can think of that were published recently in Aus, that are set after high school: Holier Than Thou by Laura Buzo (2012), Eleven Seasons by Paul D. Carter (2012), and Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar (2009).

That’s not a whole lot.

In the US, however, the genre seems to be booming. And interestingly enough, the authors creating this boom are self-published because many people told them that no one wants to read books set in university/college.

So what to do now? Try US agents? Self-publish? Or finish working on my second manuscript, which is more YA (set in high school), and try for that one instead?

Agent Acquisition

I’ve reached the point in the writing process where I’m trying to find an agent. This, I’ve realised, is perhaps a bit harder for an Australian than for some of our friends in the US of A. I’ve read a fair few blogs and stuff about the process of alluring these higher beings AKA literary agents, and I’ve followed all the steps:

  1. Write a good query letter
  2. Research agents who represent your book’s genre (total of 7 in Australia)
  3. Send out letters/emails to said agents, making sure to follow MSS submission guidelines to a T. 
  4. Wait.
  5. Get a partial request (three out of seven)
  6. Receive rejection letter(s)  (six out of seven – getting kinda nervous now)
  7. Wait
  8. Research self-publishing
  9. Receive a request for full manuscript from last agent left on list

Now I’m a hyped-up ball of nerves, trying to prepare myself for disappointment, but dreaming of ‘what could be’, and working out how long it might take revered agent to end my suffering. A week? Two weeks?

I think I’m going to google ‘list of American agents willing to represent Aussie authors’. Just in case, you know, everything falls through. Not because I’m a pessimist; just a realist.

the (first) time I visited the Ummayed Mosque

Location: Damascus, Syria
Year: 2008

I’ve been lucky enough to visit Syria three times (four if you count travelling back through to get from Lebanon to Jordan). This mosque is one of my favourites; I’m not sure why, because there are prettier ones out there, but there’s something special about this one. It’s set in the heart of the old city; found at the end of ancient cobble-stoned alleyways lined with crawling vines, dainty Damascene handicraft stores, croissant-sellers and tea houses. The mosque is still used as a place of prayer, but Syrians are very welcoming to foreigners checking it out, just as long as you’re wearing your special clothes.

Review — Girl Saves Boy, Steph Bowe

I would love to use this blog to promote good Australian YA. I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t been home in two years, but I crave contemporary YA set in Australia. It brings back so many memories and reminds me how much I really do like being an Australian. I just finished Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe. I’m not going to give a recap of what the book’s about; the blurb on Goodreads — and many other reviewers — do a way better job than I could. I’ll just share my thoughts about the novel.

girlsavesboy

This was a really sweet story. I thought the relationship between the two protagonists was magical. I loved the supporting characters, too. Stories that have a strong supporting cast always have more of an impact on me than those that just purely focus on the main characters. Overall, I found the plot a little weak, but I think that’s because I like overly dramatic climaxes in a story (which says more about me than Bowe’s skills as a writer). I guess I felt the story revealed too much too soon and this effected how I interpreted the climax of the novel.  Bowe’s writing, however, is lyrical and beautiful and I look forward to reading her next book, All This Could End.