Proofing the Proof

on June 24, 2011 in Misc

I just got the electronic proofs (which I gotta proof) for the interior of The Compass Master.

OMG.

I mean, I knew my book was long, but it’s something else to find out that this baby is clocking in at 526 pages.  And that ain’t with a large font, folks.

I should add that I wrote this thriller in short chapters, the better to keep the pacing going, so there are 100 chapters plus an epilogue, which means white space at the end of most chapters.  But still… 526 pages?  Really?

One of the first things I did after seeing the proofs was to head for a bookstore over my lunch hour (I was at work) and look through just about every large-ish trade paperback I could find.  Happily big honkin’ historical sagas sag in at around 700 pages.  And The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series was certainly up around 500 in thickish tomes.  Then there are thriller writers like Daniel Silva and James Rollins who write solidly long novels.

Best of all, there’s the “epic fantasy” writer George R. Martin, who I guess is a big name in the genre.  His new hardcover A Dance with Dragons is… wait for it…1050 freaking pages!

And when TCM was in the hands of an agent and being read by a dozen editors (and all the way up to the editor-in-chief at one pub house), I never heard a single complaint about the length of my manuscript.

So I’m starting to feel better about The Compass Master‘s length.  I remind myself that in my last couple read-throughs I edited that baby down by almost a couple thousand words.   It’s a pretty tightly-written story, if I do say so myself, with no scene that can be cut without hurting the plotting.  But I always, always feel as if I can cut a word here, a phrase there.  I’m never content with anything I write because by nature I’m an insecure compulsive rewriter.

Anyway, you know what I’ll be doing for much of this weekend and for the next week or two:  slowly, carefully reading every word of TCM and checking out every one of about a million punctuation marks.  Oh joy.

Also next week I’ll have my first phone consultation with a CreateSpace graphics person about the cover for my book and the art I sent her/him for it.  I’m pretty excited about that.  Will keep you posted.

Have a gorgeous summer weekend, y’all.

5 Responses to “Proofing the Proof”

  1. Ciara Knight says:

    Congrats on taking that next step. I can’ imagine. My books are usually under 300 pages. LOL. I’m lucky if I hit 90,000 words. :)

  2. Helena says:

    Ciara — If I write another book (and yes, I’ve got one in mind) it is going to be SO much shorter and simpler! And I’m so looking forward to you books!

  3. Jeremy says:

    I found your post on Aikido just now and dropped to this page. I like your idea of becoming your character both as research and personal growth. I am a bit of a black patch and this is something that has lit a fire under my ass. Good stuff! BTW, I would recommend Layla use Aiki-jujitsu but perhpas she (you) know better! Good luck with the book. I am a librarian and will plan to order it for our library. Keep me posted.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I meant “in” a bit of a black patch.

  5. Helena says:

    Jeremy – I’ve heard of Aiki-jujitu but never looked into it. Layla could probably use it (or me?). Because my book is self-published I’m not sure if libraries can order it (something about the distribution?). But keep it touch and maybe I can donate a copy to your library if you’d like.