500 Pages (125,000 Words)

Well, “Life” happened, and my writing pace has slowed down considerably. Not so long ago, I had hoped to be done with not only the first draft of my manuscript by now, but with my preliminary edits as well. I had hoped to have the manuscript in the hands of a few trusted alpha readers.

Alas, several factors have thwarted my plans. First and most importantly, my story didn’t like being held to the 450-500 page limit I had so foolishly tried to impose on it. My manuscript currently sits at 500 pages even, and I’d be optimistic to guess that a final page count would be near 550. A more realistic (albeit likely still naïve) guess would be somewhere between 550-600 manuscript pages.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Readers that will be buying my book in the future will be getting more story for their money. The story is more fully developed and has some cool scenes that I hadn’t planned on including.

However, “the powers that be” are supposedly looking for epic fantasy stories in the ballpark of 125,000 words or less, which translates into 500 pages or less of manuscript. I don’t blame them one bit for this guideline, either. They have very good reasons to ask for a smaller manuscript from a first time author, as longer books will generally need more work to become sale-able, meaning longer books as a general rule will net them less profit.

This will make it harder for me to convince a smart, business-minded agent that my book is one they want to represent. But the thing that matters most to me is that my book is the best it can be, and I believe that will speak much more strongly in my favor than “the right word count”.

The other “Real Life” factor that has slowed my writing is that I have recently found a new job. I am incredibly excited about the change, and as far as “jobs” that aren’t my dream job of being a career author go, it is probably as awesome as I’m going to find. But as many of you likely know, there is a considerable time and stress investment that comes with not only working full time but in finding a new, better job opportunity.

Here’s to chasing our dreams and to the struggles that happen in the background. I’m reinvesting myself in writing, and I promise I’ll have a book for you guys to read before too long. My new goal is to finish my first draft and preliminary edits by the time I go to the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton England at the end of October. I’ll also do my best to keep you updated more frequently.

-SD

Initiation

I’m Scott. I write novels. Fantasy novels.

Soon, I’ll be finished with my first complete work, and I’ll put a sample up for everyone to (hopefully) enjoy.

I’ll also do my best to document the ups and downs that accompany the process of writing, becoming a better writer, seeking an agent, being published, and doing everything possible to build a permanent home in the coveted locale known as the “bestseller list”.

So. Why fantasy? I’ve been asked this question more than once, and gotten enough strange looks to feel that an explanation is warranted. I don’t see why people are so surprised, really. I’m a mechanical engineer by profession for Pete’s sake, you’d think that a little introversion would be expected (note: not as many engineers/scientists are main-stream “geeks” as you would think).

Anyways, people think I’m a whole new flavor of weird when they hear that I write fantasy novels. Unless I tell them that my book is like Harry Potter. It’s not, really, other than that it has people in it and is written in English, but it gets people to stop staring at me.

The real reason that I write fantasy, besides the fact that I have a several-decades long addiction to the genre, is that in fantasy, anything is possible.

“No kidding,” I hear you say. That’s the point of fantasy, to be able to make up whatever awesome gobbledygook you want, right? Sort of, but not for the reasons that might immediately come to mind.

Authors like David Eddings, Robert Jordan, L.E. Modesitt Jr., Brandon Sanderson, Patrick Rothfuss, Brad Thor (I know he writes thrillers, but I had to include him), and J.K. Rowling have achieved something incredible. They have helped enlighten and improve humankind in a way that I believe is truly unique to fantasy, and I want to contribute as well.

Yes, other genres, both fiction and non-fiction, can be wonderful. They discuss great themes, have great stories. We can be better people for reading (some of) them.

But fantasy doesn’t just preach or relate a life lesson. It lets you live it, breathe it, and adopt it as your own in a safe environment, removed from the pressures and norms of our own world. And herein lies the true power of fantasy fiction: I believe that works of fantasy come to be so powerful because it allows the author a safe place to bare their soul and truly express not only their ideas, but the core of their beings. Every little part of their novels comes from within.

And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why I write fantasy. I don’t deny that I write with entertainment in mind, but my novels are also my safe place where I can show you who I am, more intimately than through any other method (that I’m willing to engage in). I bare a piece of my soul on every page that I write and meticulously edit.

-Scott