Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Book is too long--writing tip

    Bride of the Condor Series, Vol 1 
          by Terry L. White

Join Qwana on the Nazca Plain where she is the last priestess to the Temple of the Moon. Follow the last priestess through her initiation, then onto the plain where visitors from another world wait to catapult her into another world.

Question from the e-mail: Remember me? Judy? We met years ago at an IWWG summer conference. Well, I finally finished my... (admittedly long) first novel at 700 pages. And thanks for the encouragement back then. NOW,  Every ONE has returned it, with the same problem. They love the story, but it's too long! What can I do with it now that it's finished at last--and don't get smart, Arline!

Answer: Judy do you remember Terry L. White, from IWWG. (She was the one with the guitar.)  She had the same problem with one of the first books she wrote. The Last Priestess was longer than yours, and everyone loved it except publishers. Finally, she found an e-publisher, who didn't care how long it was (no paper costs, yunno), but later she met Diana Gabaldon at an IWWG conference, and Diana said, "Yunno what they told me about mine...just write it as a series!"

Diana had wanted to write a mystery, but since her field was history, she decided to write a “practice book” about Scotland in the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie. When she had 800 pages written, she posted a chapter on an Internet Writer’s Forum, and the next day she had email from two Big Name Writers who recommended that she contact their agent. So she sent him the 800 page (known in the industry as a “doorstop” length) sample.

When he phoned, Diana admitted it was only the “first third” of the story.

He said, “I’ll get back to you.” Everyone on the Internet forum scolded her for the manuscript being too long, so Diana had figured she’d never hear from him again. But she kept right on writing.

A week later the agent called her back and said they would have to cut her book into manageable chunks and make a series of books from it. And so the Outlander series was sold for $1 million advance, back in the day. And now Starz has contracted to produce a Cable TV series as well. (Congratulations, Diana, for all your well-deserved success!)

Later, Terry took Diana's advice and made her book into a series as well, instead of One LONG book, and the first third became the book shown above. Congratulations, to you, too, Terry L. White. It's just as good a story today, as it was back when you first wrote it!

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