Monday, December 6, 2010

Writing Short - writing tip

We received two queries yesterday, one very interesting one. Both were for books more than 100,000 words. We could not afford to take either of them however good they might be as I would be sure lose money. A Plain and simple fact of economics. GONE WITH THE WIND, too, would be out, for us, in today's economy. Mass market publishers can afford this. POD publisers cannot, without pricing their books out of the market.

So how do you write short? How do you bring a good book in at less than 90,000 words. Doesn't a book have to be as long as it has to be?

Yes, it does.

Plenty of good, long, books have been, and will be,written. They are just not for us. And in the interest of word economy, let's think for a moment of Ernest Hemingway who wrote THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA a best-selling novel that some folks considered his best and that was almost "too short for publication."

Using a lot of words is tempting. Paring things down to what you have to say instead of what you want to say is hard. I remember when I couldn’t write “Hello” without using 500 words. Then I went to work for a newspaper. But writing short is good discipline and will serve you well in the future if you can learn do it.

Hemingway once bet someone he could write an entire short story in six words. According to some, he was very drunk at the time and the other writers who hung around at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West were certain they would win. “You need plot, a character who changes, and a resolution,” they warned. Hard to do in six words.

Everyone agreed it couldn’t be done and put a lot of money on that. Hemingway who had been telling them all they could find stories anywhere, pointed to the classified section of the newspaper — and collected his bet. “For sale. Baby shoes. Never Used.”

No comments:

Post a Comment