Crowbars and rust

Back to Ada and Rob! We’re already past the 80th page of this chapter… It’ll be longer than I originally planned. I don’t think I’ll be able to fit everything into under 10 pages, hah!

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How are you guys doing? Vaccinations are finally moving forward in Japan so I’m quite optimistic! A month or two more and I might be able to go hiking again without being afraid of the trains haha. I’m really looking forward to it!

I spent this weekend revising my book but I’ll probably need another week… And then my trusty alpha-reader will give his verdict. I also heard back from an literary agent who offers query critique services. I sent them over my query for “The Cleansed Ones” (that’s the book with the shark-faced centipede) and I guess they liked it? The main problem is, the book has 130k words and it turns out that most agents refuse books longer than 120k right off the bat. So hmmm… I can either shelve it for now or remove aaaaall those words. Somehow. I have no idea how, because the book is action-packed and there’s not much time spent navel-gazing or thinking (about future, or about the consequences, or about anything at all). In any case – if you’re writing, 120k is the limit for a fantasy debut!

Also, I posted a little sneak peek for Historia on the game’s Patreon so if you feel like supporting our horror visual novel project please take a look!

19 comments on “Crowbars and rust”

  1. JW Reply

    The main problem is, the book has 130k words and it turns out that most agents refuse books longer than 120k right off the bat.

    I guess you could make it a trilogy of 43k word books ? Or translate it to German, so you can use very long words that would take 4 or 5 words in English. (Maybe that works in Polish as well?)

    To be honest I don’t really have an idea of how much 120k words is. Any idea how many pages would that be for an 11x17cm paperback?
    Or maybe I should count a page myself and do the math …

    • JW Reply

      Seems to be ~300 words per page (I counted 297 on one page, to be exact)
      So 400 pages for 120k, 433 for 130k. It doesn’t seem weirdly big to me. *shrug*

      • Refugnic Reply

        For comparison purposes, my latest book features around 700 pages in paperback format, so…yeah, 130k words aren’t really all that much, if you’re really got a story to tell.

        The problem is, I believe, that ‘big books’ do not fetch (much) more money.
        Potentially, people are wary of the higher prize and the book will not sell as well.
        So they’d rather have a book that’s split up into multiple parts, because that way they can sell the same story multiple times.

        • NotImportant Reply

          I don’t know the reason. I asked, so maybe we’ll know in a couple of days. I agree that for a fantasy story 120k is not much at all. Most fantasy books are thicker than that…. Not sure why debuts are so restricted :/

          • JW

            It probably has to do with the investment cost. There’s uncertainty whether a new author will sell, and costs are bigger for bigger books. And if Refugnic is right that the profit-margins are also lower, then that’s an additional reason.

          • Rostanya

            Book wise, they estimate about 250 words a page, so it’s more like 520 pages. And JW is correct; it’s about production cost. More pages equals more money in production and shipping, which drives up the cost of the book, making it more difficult to sell, so agents are hesitant to take on debut novels over 100k words. I haven’t read your prose work, so this might be a pointless suggestion, but look for -ly adverbs and filler words like “just” and “that.” I’m terrible about using the latter, so I do a word search for them and delete them unless they truly serve a purpose.

          • someone

            Personally I’d say this, as much as I hate it when authors do this to me, mostly because I’m not sure I can trust they’re going to keep going and I so want to know the end of the story when it hooks me:

            Set some background so the world feels real. Tell some part of the story, enough to get some good character and development in there and leave the hooks to make it a trilogy, i.e. find the most important parts of that 130k words to tell first. Then you can do a smaller first run and really what does it matter if you publish 3 books fast or 1 book slow? First one is going to be a learning curve and a bunch of not-writing work to promote and push it and see where it goes, maybe first time working with an editor etc.

            Let us know when it shows up on Apple books and I’ll grab a copy. I don’t do physical books so much anymore O:-), but I suppose if that’s the only way it’s published ^_^.

    • Alex Reply

      As a German I have to say that it’s not easy to not only translate a book well, but to also use enough of our long words to reduce the amount of words by 10k. I mean, not many words can be merged without it being a noticeable change in style. Also, I think it’s safe to assume that German literary agents do account for that anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚ But I am not sure whether or not German literary agents have that rule at all. But still, English is the most common language in the world, so it’d be best to stick with it.

      But damn, just because of 10k words? I guess you gotta draw the line somewhere, but if I were an agent I’d have a rule that would say something like “The further it goes beyond 120k the more interested I’ll have to be to still take it.” Though maybe he does have that rule. :-/ Market be tough.

      Out of curiosity: How many of my corrections did you include in the version you sent him, i.e. up to which page?

      • NotImportant Reply

        I’ve heard it from another source as well so yeah, pretty sure that the rule exists. There are of course agents that don’t care about it but if 80% of all of them won’t even start reading my story just because of the wordcount then… What chances do I have hahaha

        The query letter only includes a very short fragments (1500 words) so I’ve included your corrections. She still found more. There were for example a/the issues and a typo in “quivering” that made it into “quavering” so it didn’t get redlined heh.

        • Alex Reply

          lol, ok I didn’t know the difference between quiver and quaver at all indeed. Heck I didn’t even know these words at all and probably just looked up the word you used in a dictionary when I came across it. Those are things where I don’t stand a chance indeed. XD
          Those a/the instances would be interesting to know about as well. Do you have one or two examples? I want to know if I can keep an eye out for these in the future, too.

          As for the word count: Let’s try to find a creative solution before you castrate your story just to fit into the corset that is the norm, ok? ๐Ÿ™‚ You can e.g. turn the beginning into a prelude and offer that part for free online (i.e. everything that happened until the journey began). Many many authors allow people to read the first couple of pages for free on Amazon and the like to advertise it, but in your case it would not be part of the book and thus double as a word-count reducer.

          I kinda got a bad conscience for suggesting you to offer something for free, so please look at that idea as being nothing more than a last resort that’s an alternative to cutting up your art.

          • someone

            It’s a little bit of an investment, but I’ve had luck with the Hemingway app to get a bit of “automated” cross checking of things I write. ‘Course I’m more writing to make sure I’m not too complicated and lose the non-native reader of technical documents, but still same idea, it’s a low effort second opinion.

  2. Refugnic Reply

    Damn, it feels like so long ago, I actually had to take a step back to remember what had happened to those two in the meantime.

    That I’m jumping between the pages from 5 years ago and now is not helping though. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Alright, big demon felled by treading on a snake or a lizard, Ada gone down from exhaustion, yep, seems about right.
    Good thing that Rob’s not been wasting any time worrying about things he can’t do anything about anyway.

    Now…as for this page… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Back and forth and back again,
    waking up, a world of pain.
    It’s not birds, no morning song,
    but ‘whomp’ and ‘crack’, those don’t belong.

    ‘Where am I? What happened here?’
    ‘What with those strange old sounds I hear?’
    ‘Ah, it’s Robert, still alive.’
    ‘And hard at work, in overdrive.’

    ‘Crack’ and ‘Yank’, another box.
    It’s full of blades, or full of clocks?
    That’s right, the demon, strong and tall.
    And by my might, I made him fall.

    ‘Damn it all, these look like shit!’
    Robert curses, but won’t quit.
    There’s gotta be a useful thing!
    a blade that you can really swing!

    There’s no blacksmith left around,
    to sharpen all these blades you found.
    So this is what we came here for?
    This is all they have in store?

    All the good stuff, where it’s at?
    with blades well tempered, sharp and flat?
    For this, we both just almost died?
    For this, we risked both soul and hide?

    Chin up, you see, cause no one’s dead.
    (Except for those, you did behead.)
    But this is just the magazine.
    Please check upstairs, where stuff is clean.

    And you know, it’s not so tragic.
    what’s dull and old, as new with magic.
    I’m sure there’s one to reverse time.
    to clean of rust and dirt and grime.

    And through it all, a veil of hurt,
    blue eyes stare, dull, no alert.
    Morning princess, hope you’re fine.
    wipe off that blood and check your spine.

    This was quite a fall you took,
    for now you’re safe, and off the hook.
    But watchful eyes rest on your soul.
    For owning you is Adam’s goal.

  3. Crestlinger Reply

    Have a glance through the art too, there may be something dating back to the pentacles, or at least a map/ layout of the building.

    ‘Most’ agents. See if said critiquer knows someone who doesn’t. Or if they have any influence to say READ THIS NOW!

  4. Klorix Camp dweller Reply

    Reading the mouse-over: of course, NI knows whether a kiss would wake Ada or not, but I bet Robert did not try. He’s a decent person (for lack of better words that my brain doesn’t want to give me).

  5. Shimojimatto Reply

    I got my first shot already! If you already got your voucher, there are clinics that will vaccinate you already even if your area is officially only doing 65 and up yet. A friend in Nerima-ward didn’t get her voucher delivered yet, but she went to the ward office and asked and they gave her the voucher there early.

    • Rycan Reply

      Wait, whaaat? Theyโ€™re still rationing vaccines in Japan? Over in the US, weโ€™re practically done vaccinating people who want vaccinations, and are trying to bribe those more reluctant to get the shots.

  6. Rateus Camp dweller Reply

    Oh right yes, there was drama going on involving demons, I’d forgotten.

    Is it weird that I’m more invested in the camp relationship dramas than I am in the over-arching demon apocalypse backdrop?

  7. JW Reply

    Come to think of it, maybe a museum isn’t the best place to get functional swords. Those things have often been corroded in the ground for hundreds of years. You could probably forge a better sword from that crowbar.
    Maybe try a medieval sword fighting club. (You’ll need to sharpen the swords, and I think they weren’t really made to be sharpened, but at least they won’t break apart on first contact with the enemy.)

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