Wednesday, 24 March 2010

The Writer vs The Fly

I hear the buzzing and a small dart of black flies across my vision. It dive-bombs the screen, wheeling away again with a chuckle (or so I think). It circles my head, zooming so close to me I feel the ripple of displaced air. It is the Red Baron of the fly world.

At the moment all is silent. This means it is regrouping with its friends, ready to launch another dastardly attack. But I shall forward the special weapon – to arms Cats! To… oh, they are outside on the shed. Bless them for covering my back so efficiently (and so distantly).

For some reason chapter nineteen advances to the tune of Nessun Dorma. I have replayed this song on youtube more times than I think are healthy. But words are happening… slow, but you know, sort of steady.

*is that the sound of the Red Baron? I pause and listen to a distant buzz. Mapping the territory of the stairs, I presume*

Later, and the cats are in, which means the Red Baron has gone into hiding. I just know this means it is practising evasive manoeuvres in my bedroom. There won’t be a single tell-tale buzz while the cats are on the prowl, as to them a fly means a visit to the delicatessen to select a choice succulent olive. But in a few hours, just as I close my eyes to settle… oh yes.

I’ve reached chapter twenty by the way. I will still no doubt go back and pick at chapter nineteen, and chapter twenty is still a continuation of the same scene as before (sort of, ish, in passing) but moving onwards feels so good!

I still need to lose 7,000 words overall, though, to get down to my goal of 95,000 words. This leads me to a question. In a query most people mention the word count of their novel. If I send this out before finishing it, and put that the book comes in at 95,000 words, would agents be very cross if in fact it finishes at 100,000 instead? What do you think?

8 comments:

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

Don't worry if it's only 5k words. You could have changed the MS before the agent gets back to you! Now if it were a difference of 10K+ words, then you might have some 'splaing to do, Lucy!

xoxo -- Hilary

Fran said...

Just hyphenate a load of them.

KarenG said...

So glad you got past Chapter 19! Yay for Jayne!! Stupid fly. Distracting you from Ch. 20.

Donna Hosie said...

5000 words is approx fifteen pages, so some agents may notice. Then they may start thinking as to why you queried when it still wasn't finished.

Is it worth taking the risk?

Talli Roland said...

I loved this and your description of the Red Baron! It's even more oinous when they're silent, isn't it?

Ben said...

Go Jayne! And yeah, what Hilary said about 5000.

My attempts at getting published were less than entirely successful, so you might want to take my advice with a pinch of salt. Your first priority is to your story and your satisfaction with it. If you find a way to improve it or change it to something that doesn't niggle you at 4am when you're trying to get to sleep then that is far more important than trying to please someone who takes issue with it being a few pages short of or more than what you originally said.

And who's to say they won't suggest changes after your rewrite anyway (or that you should never start a sentence with a preposition for that matter)?

Jayne said...

Hi Hilary. Thanks for the words of advice, much appreciated. I think I will get it finished first though... just in case!

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Oh Fran! If only... :)

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Thanks KarenG! The fly's fate was unknown in the end. My secret weapons probably ate it!

Jayne said...

Hi Donna. Yes, I've decided to get all the redrafting done first just in case. Thanks for your comment!

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Hi Talli. Oh totally... when they are silent they are plotting. ;)

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Hi Ben! Oh it is so nice to see you over here. Thanks for the advice, absolutely agree to the story being the top priority. I think what will be best for me is actually getting it finished first. It feels like it should be this way (my dream - finished, happy, send off, happy)... I don't know if this is just me wanting time to dither though.