Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Since coming back from that Kentucky trip, I did a word count on my second book. Mercy! I hope my editor isn't reading this. An average novel is about 100,000 words. The Preacher's Daughter is at 150,000 which is a novel and a half. Sigh. So my new occupation is whittling - fifty thousand words or so to be exact.

I wish I was one of those spare, lean writers who have no fat in their manuscripts. This one is extra hefty. But then The Frontiersman's Daughter was, at one miserable point, about 500 pages and 170,000 words. But I have some time yet as the manuscript isn't due till next year. Maybe this third book will be lighter.

Reminds me of this quote by Oscar Wilde:

I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.

Wilde was known for his wit and this comment is surely tongue-in-cheek. If only my whittling was as simple.


  1. I'm about 2/3 of the way through The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. In hardcover, it's 566 pages, and last time I looked it was #4 on the NY Times bestseller list. I'll opt for a long, well written book over a short one any day. I do so hate to get into a book and then, suddenly....I'm at the last page. Arrggghhh!

  2. Hey Gin,
    I couldn't agree more. James Thom, another NY Times bestseller, has some whoppers also - the last one I read topped out at almost 800 pages. I'm going to ask my publisher if the 350 pages stated in my contract is a hard and fast number. Seems they would offer some flexibility especially if it enhances the story. I admire your high-falutin' taste in literature! Hope you're jammin on the porch in Berea w/out me!

  3. I'm almost at the end of Sawtelle and I can say that, yes, it could have used some editing...not a lot, but some.

    As for the pickin' 'n grinnin', I wish you could have been there the day before you left. Callie, the 13 year-old daughter of a friend, played fiddle. Amazing and lovely young girl. If I can dig up a picture, I'll send it. You'd like her, her family as well. Just plain mountain folks, but good ones. :)

  4. I know I'd like Callie - even like her name! Maybe Callie and Paul can play on the porch someday. I brought back a blue "Jammin' on the porch" t-shirt which my son Wyatt decided he loves. He looks better in in than I do. Hmmm. I'll have to take a look at Sawtelle. Sounds like you have an editor's eye!