Contrary to popular belief, I am not dead; I have just been engaged in yet another revision of my book—this one almost entirely grammatical. Besides tackling the great “that” deletion (see previous writing assignment regarding the necessity of eliminating the word), I have primarily been revising in order to get my word count reduced.
Prior to my revision, my book stood at 115,000 words, which, according to everything I have read, was entirely too long for a first book. None of my readers has had any problem with the length, but I don’t want to create any psychological barriers to agents or publishers who are reading my query letter. So I have managed to get my word count down to just under 110,000 words—which is the recommended length.
I was surprised it wasn’t as painful to cut 5,000 words as I thought it would be. I was afraid I would have to give up an entire scene to eliminate so many words, but by re-reading the entire book and taking out repetitive sentences, combining two or more sentences into one, and generally taking out any word or sentence which did not add to the understanding of either the plot or the characters, I was able to cut 5,000 words rather painlessly.
And just because I’m a really bizarre person, I have written a new piece of background information (see right sidebar: The Cultural Origins and Evolution of the Canichmehah) for my book. I have already anticipated that some people will have issues with the fact that one of my Jewish-born vampires is cremated in the first book. I didn’t write it that way because I am ignorant of the Jewish prohibition against cremation, but rather because it’s a cultural tradition and practical necessity for my vampires.
Thinking that I needed to point this out somewhere, I hit upon the idea of explaining Canichmeh culture and history from the point-of-view of an anthropologist. But rather than it being me explaining my vampires, it was “written” by a Canichmeh and “presented” as a lecture at one of their Convenings.
I told my husband that only I am bizarre enough to write a seven-page research paper on my fictional characters.