One of the agents I’m talking to asked me to scale my Bad Fairy book back from 146,000 words to 115,000 or less because that fits the length that’s commonly accepted in the market for first novels. If I can do that then she’ll look at it.
I considered it for a while and decided that even though it’d likely be hell, she’s probably doing me a favor. I’ve had a couple full-manuscript-reading agents end up passing on my project citing a saggy middle or problems with the pacing. So . . . maybe an ultimatum like this is the best way to help me tighten it up, like it or not.
It’s just frustrating because I already got it down to 146,000 words from its original 171,000 words (mostly with Jessie’s help), and I thought THAT was monumental. The ridiculous word count was part of the reason I never entered this book in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition; they have a word cap of 150,000 words. I was astounded when I slipped below that for the first time.
And now I’ve gotta do it again. I’m not looking forward to it but I need to roll up my sleeves.
In the meantime, I made a comic about it for So You Write. Haha.
I’m having a lot of fun networking with other writers and sharing experiences, and I was looking for a new artistic outlet to use my Copic markers, so my new webcomic So You Write was born.
It’s a huge departure from Negative One since it actually tries to be funny and has some semblance of background, but I know I’m not really a strong artist and I’d appreciate it if you didn’t make fun of me. 🙂
This comic incorporates autobiographical experiences I’ve had with writing, querying, and all kinds of creativity-junkie lifestyle references. Real people make cameos and whatnot. I hope all you writer types enjoy it.
So I seem to have made it to FIVE YEARS with my webcomic, Negative One. I updated every single Friday. Without ever being late or missing an issue. 261 issues. 16,186 panels.
So I’m feeling pretty awesome about it and elected to celebrate.
I made a cake, received some gifts from friends, and collected a bunch of fan art from readers. And I made a tribute video for baby Ivy. You can see it all on the Five-Year Celebration Page (offsite at my webcomic, though).
Last week’s issue of my webcomic Negative One involved a storyline that smashed my audience over the head with a mostly unexpected sudden tragedy. You don’t get much more horrible than missing children without involving death.
I was pretty depressed about it, even though I knew it was coming. This is me after I finished drawing it.
So it’s been nearly a week since I posted the update and people are still e-mailing me with tales of woe. Most notably, I’m receiving e-mails from parents who have had close calls with their children similar to what I’ve depicted in #0159, and they’re all talking about how much they hope Amanda’s parents find her.
Gulp. . . .
Looks like we are all in for a really hard couple of months here, ’cause the comic is going to continue to be about this. What choice do I have? I have to deal with what I spawned now.
One parent posted a comment about the issue leaving them “sobbing at the keyboard.”
Another shared a similar experience of losing (but finding) their kid.
And one person’s just mailed to plead for Amanda’s safe return as well as to ask how this couple ended up with an “Elfquest Glider baby.” (I don’t get this reference. Er?)
Well, I cried over this, but I knew I would. I’m the author. I go through whatever the characters go through, sorta-kinda. (Sometimes it can seem pretty real.) It was touching and rewarding and . . . a little disturbing . . . to get so much mail about people crying over my work. I didn’t WANT to upset people, but I guess it’s also a sign that there are tons of people I don’t even know whose lives I am touching once a week by posting this.
I could tell from the hundreds of hits per week, but it’s more real to me when I get the letters.
I hope I have a chance to do this with my novels sometime in the near future.
My webcomic got featured in Top Webcomics, so I started getting a few more readers and, consequently, more mail about the story than usual. Reading the mail, I have noticed several themes and things people tend to like about the comic.
- They tend to like the characters.
- They normally point out that it’s different from every other webcomic they read.
- And they like the realness and sincerity and inventiveness of my plot.
Some of them mention they like the art, too, but mostly almost everyone who writes me says something about having experienced a personal connection with the characters or relating to their situation.
One thing I think I do well is write convincingly about things I’ve never been through. I was discussing this with a person who contacted me about the comic recently, and after I told her I’ve never had a baby or gone to another dimension like the characters in the story have, she reacted with surprise, saying, “WHAT? I thought *sure* from this story that you were a mother!” (Paraphrased.) That’s awesome. I guess we’ll never know how convincingly I write about traveling to other dimensions. I don’t think there are any people out there who can say whether I’m doing it right or wrong. Heh.
I love the old Ivy stories I wrote in college—from my modern fantasy series, The House That Ivy Built—but her story just isn’t cohesive enough to survive as a marketable novel, so I think one cool thing I can do with it is make a webcomic about it. So . . . that’s exactly what I’m doing.
This alternating-story webcomic will update every Friday for the foreseeable future. And since it’s pretty much my own thing, you can expect a lot of sort of indulgent narration. But if you like that sort of thing, perhaps this webcomic will be up your alley.