WHAT I'M DOIN' # 46: Writerly Stuff And Being Bad At Math

Republibot 3.0
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Gah. I'm an idiot.

As some of you know, I've put together an anthology of my original short stories called "Ice Cream and Venom." It's all done with the editing, and aside from needing a bit of technical support from Kindle/Amazon to straighten out a table-of-contents issue, it's ready to go. Once we get that out of the way, it should be online more or less immediately.

(By the way: if any of you know anything about the technical aspects of self-publishing on Kindle, please contact me. We've got this one thing snagging us up, and I know it can't be all that hard... my Email address is three@republibot.com )

I've bragged that I have a lot more stuff ready to go, a novel called "Home Again," and an entire second anthology tentatively called "The Prettiest Lesbian I've Ever Seen." I'll admit that's not a very good title, and not particularly apt. I've pretty much decided to change it as of this morning. The new working title is "The Undead At War," named after what I think is the best story in the collection.

Anyway, so coming into the home stretch on "Ice Cream and Venom," I decided to start getting my other manuscripts ready for the editors. I figured the novel should be next.

So it turns out I suck. I haven't actually read it in a year or two. Wow! Problems galore.

Firstly, it's Waaaaaaaaaaay shorter than I remembered. Minimum length for a novel is 50,000 words. Mine was 32,468. Way short. So I didn't *really* write a novel, and I've been bragging about something I didn't really do for three or four years now, without realizing it. Disappointing. I tried padding it out once a couple years ago, and I *may* have lost that draft, but I kind of suspect I didn't. I think it was always just shorter than I thought.

How did I misremember the length so badly? I'm assuming it's just 'cuz I'm bad at math. I knew it was a bit on the short side, but for some reason I thought it was about 44,000 words, nothing major. A little padding here and there, and I'd be fine. I mean, I can crank out 10,000 words in 9 hours, as I did a week ago when I wrote "Fire Down Below," so I wasn't concerned about that. 17,000 is a bit more daunting, but only a bit. Still: Slow going. I worked on it for an hour or two last night, and punched it up by 1114 words. The problem is, I guess, that these insertions need to be done in such a way as to not really mess up the flow, and the story is already pretty tight. It's hard to pad out a book, which is I guess why most books do it so badly.

The really frustrating thing, though, is the manuscript itself: I've written a lot of stuff since I typed "The End" on "Home Again," and I'm a whole lot better. It's not a bad book by any means, I'm not at all ashamed of it, there's some great action sequences in there, the ending is pretty intense, but I will say that it's not really up to the standards of what I'm doing now, very much a 'first novel' (Or, I guess, 'First Novella') Also: it's a pretty tight story. Pumping too much dross into the narrative will kill it.

Ultimately, while sorting out stuff for the "Undead At War/Prettiest Lesbian" anthology this morning, I just said "Screw it." This damn novel-that-isn't-really-a-novel has been haunting me since 2006 and I just want to be done with it. Tape it to the shop window, and move on.

Thus my second anthology will include "Home Again" in its entirety, though that necessitated removing one of the stories I'd intended to place in there to bring it down to an acceptable length. Total manuscript is - at present - 75,000 words, or about 50% longer than "Ice Cream and Venom."

Drama notwithstanding, it's shaping up pretty nicely, even if it means I've only got one book ready to go, rather than the two I thought I had. No big. I can always write more...

Oh: Unrelated to that: in the last week, we've received TEN short stories from contributors to the site. IN addition, I've got three or four of my own ready to go, so we're sitting pretty on Original Fiction for probably the next third of a year. Cool, huh? Thank you very, very much for letting us run this stuff, guys! We're honored to be able to give your work a home.