It’s the WORD “Schedule”

Heard from Anna (my Tor editor). HAWKSPAR could go two ways—divided into two books because it’s so long (and the hardcover version of TALYN did not take over the world) or seriously cut and kept in one book.

I’ve chosen option number two, because the book is one story, and cannot be made two stories, and I hate reading a book that ends in midair. I want a complete story from beginning to end. If there’s more going on in the world, and I want more books in the world, great, I’ll buy them when they come out, but the idea of waiting nine months to find out how a story ends makes me crazy. Anna was on my side on this, and is currently going through the manuscript tagging definite cuts and possible cuts, and as soon as I heard back from her, I’m going to get them done. I’ll have until May 1st to get them back to her, but I can’t give myself that long, because I have other books on the table—RUBY KEY and CULTURE CLINIC (Book II of the Worldbuilding Series) right now.

Meanwhile, I’m going to see if I can get a print version of LANGUAGE CLINIC onto Lulu today (it won’t be available until I’m sure it has real print, of course, which means I’ll have to order a copy). Tomorrow, I’ll start on CULTURE CLINIC.

But I swear, all I have to do anymore is think the word “schedule” and it explodes. Going to have to tag it Private Profanity and start calling it the S-bomb.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

23 comments… add one
  • shawna Dec 31, 2006 @ 13:30

    If he’d just hurry up and WRITE the darn books, it wouldn’t be so much of an issue. (Yeah, I know. Wishful reader thinking. I suppose if the few dozen authors I wish were more prolific actually were, I wouldn’t have time to find more new favorites… and that would be a pity, too.)

    I didn’t care for the way he did it, either. In fact, there’s something I really don’t like about the way he writes at all… it’s the story that keeps me reading. I absolutely hate the sections with the barbarian gal. (Been too long now, I don’t remember names well at all.) I think what I dislike is that it comes across as a very distant 3rd person, so it just doesn’t work as well for me in multiple viewpoints as say, Robert Jordan.

    Personally, I’d prefer a shorter timespan covering all the characters I’m wondering about, over two books covering a longer time, but split characters/plotlines. *As with everything, I just thought of an exception. Two books released at the same time would be tolerable like that… for some reason, I seem to think I’ve seen that done.

  • hollylisle Dec 31, 2006 @ 11:37

    Anders—I could, I guess.

    However, GRR Martin got absolutely roasted by the fans of his work for doing what he did in A Feast of Crows, and disappointed a lot of people, my husband included, by splitting things up so that a bunch of the storylines they’d been waiting to find out more about simply skipped the book altogether.

    He’s a big name. He’ll probably be fine in spite of the bad reviews. I’m too small to take a chance like that.

  • Anders Dec 30, 2006 @ 16:59

    I’m very very late posting this, but if you have multiple viewpoint characters you could go the route George RR Martin choes in A Feast for Crows and cut out some plotlines entirely, reserving them for the next Korre book.

  • hollylisle Sep 29, 2006 @ 7:19

    Joel—VINCALIS was supposed to be three 200,000-word books. I ended up doing it as one 125,000-word book.

    THE SECRET TEXTS were supposed to be three 200,000-word books. I ended up doing them as three 125,000-word books.

    So it seems that I am constantly doing this. It is NO fun.

  • joela Sep 28, 2006 @ 23:50

    Ouch. But didn’t you do the same for one of your other books? (And of course I can’t remember it at the moment….)

  • hollylisle Sep 27, 2006 @ 7:56

    There are books that could comfortably be cut in two and made into two stories, and each book would be good. HAWKSPAR, like TALYN, is one story, and there is no break point anywhere in the book where things could logically pause for nine months until the second book came out. I would have been hurting readers by breaking it in two—I’m still stinging from the SECRET TEXTS, where I had plotted out three logical endings, and my editor insisted (read as do-or-die) that instead of using them, I create cliffhangers for the first and second books. Over desperate protests, I did. And people hated the cliffhangers.

    HAWKSPAR split would be a cliffhanger in every possible way, and people would accuse me of milking the book for twice the money, and I don’t need that shit. HAWKSPAR cut will just be balls to the wall from start to finish. I’d rather the second than the first.

  • Jaye Patrick Sep 26, 2006 @ 22:02

    Will cutting Hawkspar make it a better book?

    I don’t mind cliff-hanger books as long as there is a reasonable ending. I don’t mean leaving the hero and the heroine standing back-to-back facing the overwhelming numbers of enemies surounding them, I mean they’ve saved themselves – somehow – but are now wondering how they will defeat such an all powerful enemy permanently. But to wait a year for the resolution would just piss me off. Nine months? I can do that, if necessary to the continuity of the book.

    (Would you ever consider doing a kind of ‘Director’s Cut’, or ‘Special Edition’, eventually, with all the removed bits replaced? I’m pretty sure fans would like to read the book as it was written, as you meant it to be, not the it’s-too-long-it-must-be-cut version.)

    I regret to say I’ve haven’t read Talyn – the hardback is $AUS65 (including postage and handling) and I won’t pay that price for any author. The paperback, on the otherhand, is different and I’m looking forward to reading it. I’ve even got it on order.

  • MarFisk Sep 26, 2006 @ 19:46

    Hugs Holly, that’s a tough project you’ve got there, but I support your choice wholeheartedly. It’s one thing where a book has two clear beats that can each stand alone, but if it’s one story, it belongs in one cover jacket.

    The novella idea sounds like a cool way to recover the work so good luck on the contract question.

    And I hear you about the word schedule. Still, if we went about never having one, it would always be chaos.

    Hugs on the Talyn numbers too. I thought it was a wonderful novel :).

    Cheers,
    Margaret.

  • PolarBear Sep 26, 2006 @ 19:32

    So that would make it the “P.P.S-Bomb.” This is starting to sound like a bad junior high note passing experience.

    Good luck with the Cuisinart sessions. That will be painful but far less painful than dividing it into two and figuring out how to make two stories out of one.

  • Gabriele Sep 26, 2006 @ 16:11

    Yes, an online novella would be cool. Tell Anna it could work as marketing device to introduce new readers to the world of Korre, lol. 🙂

    So about 130K is the upper limit for a standalone novel? *sigh*

  • PJ Sep 26, 2006 @ 15:22

    I think the novella idea is great! 🙂

    It’s a shame that they want you to cut so much, but I agree with the option of cutting vs. splitting. If a book is meant to be in parts, that’s one thing, but when it was originally written as one book – and it’s just split – well, that’s just not as satisfying.

    Keep us posted!

    ~PJ~

  • Leo2all Sep 26, 2006 @ 13:29

    The novel I just finished is barely 90,000 words, I dont know what I would do if I had to cut a third of it out.
    Must be difficult.
    Best of luck.

    (ps – I want to thank you profusely. Your articles have helped me get through this recent project, my first novel. Thanks so much!)

  • hollylisle Sep 26, 2006 @ 12:58

    Tina—What happens to the 60,000 words that come out of HAWKSPAR? They’ll vanish into the ether. Or maybe I could use them to make a little online novella about the character who is being backstoried. I’ll have to check with my agent and editor to find out if that would violate my contract—if it doesn’t, it would at least be worth considering.

  • hollylisle Sep 26, 2006 @ 12:55

    HAWKSPAR was 189,000 words. In order to have it published in one book, I’ll have to cut about 60,000 words, or a third of the length.

    My objective is to leave the complete story intact, even though one major character is going to have to become a backstory character, and that character’s POV is going to be eliminated. It’s going to be complicated.

    On the up side, I did finish the print version of Create A Language Clinic today. I’ve ordered my copy, and will make it available as soon as I’m sure it’s readable and in good shape.

  • Zoe Sep 26, 2006 @ 11:43

    I’m sorry to hear about Hawkspar. Personally, I’d rather have the book divided into two books (I’d rather wait nine months to read the end than lose some of the story), but it’s your book, so in the end, your opinion on it is what matters.

  • S William Shaw Sep 26, 2006 @ 11:31

    I’m not sure I could handle cutting a book down in major proportions.

  • Rick Sep 26, 2006 @ 11:20

    Hawkspar was 220k or so? What does she want you to cut it down to? I’m crushed to hear this, and I can’t imagine you feel any better about it.

  • The English Rose Sep 26, 2006 @ 10:20

    Oh no! I definitely support the just cut it down decision; I’m not a fan of the waiting nine months thing either. Good luck with the cuts. I bet (hope!) that you have a stronger book for it.

    And yes, schedule ought to be profanity for many people, myself included.

  • shawna Sep 26, 2006 @ 10:14

    I think that word is a jinx. Sort of like my bad habit of thinking “I’ll put this away so I won’t lose it”… and that means it’s gone for months.

  • klharrds Sep 26, 2006 @ 8:52

    BTW, I got the new Worshops ebook today and am already into it for help with a possible nano project. I think its going to be really handy having all those articles in one place as well. Thanks.

  • Gabriele Sep 26, 2006 @ 8:41

    I can imagine it hurts to cut a book down (and I don’t want to think what’s going to happen with my epics) but I totally agree on the Not Wanting to Cut the Book in Two-thing. As a reader, I hate that sort of trick – dear publisher, if it’s a big book, make it one big book. 🙂

  • klharrds Sep 26, 2006 @ 8:32

    That’s a real shame about Hawkspar, especially after all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the first edit. Good luck with the cuts and Talyn paper back sales.

    As for avoiding the ‘s’ word, I had a look on http://thesaurus.reference.com/browse/schedule and these are the results I got. Perhaps you’ll have more luck with one of them.

    agenda, appointments, calendar, car, catalog, catalogue, chart, docket, inventory, itinerary, lineup*, list, program, record, registry, roll, roster, sked*, table, timetable

    I think ‘timetable’ has a good luck vibe about it.

    (ps * = informal or slang, but I still dont get car?)

  • TinaK Sep 26, 2006 @ 8:03

    Oh my God! I’m broken hearted about this. I was in love with every word of Hawkspar already. What happens to the words, sub plots and stories that get cut? Another book written with them?

    And what do you mean Talyn didn’t take over the world? I purchased three copies of it. And I plan on purchasing a paperback as well. Maybe two.

    Seriously, I’m traumatized.

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