Communion Of Dreams


10,000 a month.
August 10, 2009, 11:11 am
Filed under: Feedback, Publishing, Science Fiction, Writing stuff

What’s that? 10,000 *what* a month? Hits to the website? Downloads of the novel? What?

What it is is the number of words that I am going to try and whittle out of Communion of Dreams over the next two months.

Why should I mess with the absolute perfection of the finished text this way? Why should I slaughter a single word that has been carefully chosen and adopted through countless revisions?

Well, because there’s a publisher who likes the book. And in the comments I received from said publisher, who had four people read it in order to sort out what work needed to be done to get the book into shape for publication, they said this:

It is very well written, and the author is clearly capable of telling a great story. I am a firm believer that a book should be as long as needed, however, this manuscript is too long for the story. I have several notes in the beginning that there is too much explaining of the events and technology. The original hook in the book after an hour’s worth of reading is that a secret meeting has been called. Again, the last several chapters were great at building the pace – it is just that it takes too long to get there.

They said other things, too, but this is what the whole thing comes down to.

I sent the comments to several friends last week, and asked for their reaction. The consensus was that I should be able to tighten up the text to make the earlier part of the book move more quickly, without sacrificing too much information that the reader needs to have in order to understand the world I have created.

And I agree.

So, I have told the publisher that I will make some significant revisions, and shoot for trimming down the book by about 20,000 words (it is currently 132,500), primarily from the first part of the book. And that I think I should be able to accomplish this in the next couple of months, given my other obligations. Actually, I think I can probably do this a lot faster than that, but I do have a lot else on my plate right now so I want to leave myself plenty of room.

The question comes up: why haven’t I trimmed down the book before in this way, if I am ready to agree to the changes now?

Well, because some people like the extra material – they want the more complete information, they like the more literary pacing of the start of the book. Not everyone, of course – one of the more common comments I have gotten about the book is that the pacing is slow at first. Curiously, it seems that this divide breaks along age lines – younger readers just like a faster pace, seem happy to dive in and let the technological details sort themselves out with less explanation. Before I was willing to make these changes, I wanted to have a good reason to do so. And while the publisher won’t be able to make a final commitment until I provide a revised manuscript, this is a good enough reason.

So, I’m going to do it. And we’ll see what happens. But this is undoubtedly the most ‘movement’ I’ve had with the book in the two and a half years since I posted it online and started this blog.

It may mean less posting here from me – which I hope is a worthwhile trade-off, if it results in a published version of the novel.

Wish me luck.

Jim Downey


10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Good luck! And when you become wildly famous in the future, you can release the “original” version, The Stand-style 😉

Man, hope this comes through for ya. It’d be awesome to buy a Communion of Dreams book.

Comment by Shnakepup

Thanks, Shnakepup! And if it does come through, I’ll be happy to send you a signed copy. 🙂

Jim D.

Comment by James Downey

LUCK! (the good kind of course!)

Comment by shawna

Great!

And when they get done publishing your novel, tell them *I* have a couple of books wanting publishers too. 🙂

Comment by Hank Fox

Sure Hank . . . what’s it worth to ya? 😉

Jim D.

Comment by James Downey

You’ll feel the satisfaction of doing a Service to Humanity and, by extension, to Galactic Civilization. (One of the books is “Blue Collar Atheist,” and I’m pretty sure the reason our galactic neighbors refuse to contact us is because of religion.)

Plus I have a bucket of home-grown red potatoes that I could send over.

Comment by Hank Fox

[…] Science Fiction, Space, Writing stuff Sent a note to a friend, who had asked whether it is painful editing CoD: Nah, I can be pretty ruthless when I need to […]

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