Monday, February 23, 2009

WWW#2: Watch delivered

I delivered the manuscript today for Watch, Volume 2 of my WWW trilogy, to Ginjer Buchanan at Ace in New York and Laura Shin at Viking (Penugin Canada) in Toronto. The book will be published in April 2010.

This is my 19th novel -- a number that frankly astonishes me. :)

I'm going to reward myself by watching another episode of Battlestar Galactica on DVD tonight ...

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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At February 23, 2009 11:17 PM , Blogger Stephen Kotowych said...

Congrats, Rob!

So do you dive right in on WONDER in the morning or do you take a few days off to clear your head?

At February 24, 2009 6:20 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

I have commitments to a scriptwriting project (not FLASH FORWARD, but that's all I can say) that I have to deal with first. :)

At February 24, 2009 9:04 AM , Blogger Us in SA said...

That's wonderful Rob! I just finished Wake from the Analog serialization and was itching for the next installment. It was a great story and a great new character and I'm looking forward to more. I have a new all-time favourite RJS line now!

Judy in SATX

At February 25, 2009 2:16 AM , Blogger Larry Hodges said...

Congrats on getting WW down, with just one more W to go! I read the first installment in Analog, but decided not to read any more since I'll be buying the whole novel at the World Con this summer. [start bad joke] Sometimes I Wake up at night and go Watch the calendar, Wondering when I'm going to finally get the whole WWW. [/end bad joke] (Software wouldn't let me use < or >.)

What's the rough word count for the WWW novels? Do most of your novels tend to be around 100,000 or so?

I'm at 74,000 words in my first novel, and based on my outline, it looks like it'll reach about 110,000. I'm debating whether to make some adjustments to get it down to 100,000.

At February 25, 2009 9:04 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Contractually, each of the WWW book is supposed to be 100,00 words, but (a) there's some debate about how you count words, and (b) there's certainly a range of acceptable values on either side of 100,000, but no one has specified what that range is (either in terms of law or general publishing practice).

You and I have both written a lot of articles for magazines, Larry. When the editor says 2,000 words that's pretty darn precise. But for novels, there's no set length, and I'm not aware of any of my editors ever having checked the wordcount of what I delivered against the contract.

The ambiguity over wordcounts dates back to the days when manuscripts were done on typewriters and words had to be estimated (no one would count all the words by hand in a 400-page) manuscript.

Using typesetter's words (defined as five letters plus one space), not grammatical words, was the standard used for word counting by most publications.

As an example of the difference between typesetter's and grammatical words, consider the following sentence:

Archaeopteryx flourished in the Jurassic.

It's five grammatical words but seven typesetter's words.

But, yeah, WAKE and WATCH are each about 100,000 words. Some of my earlier novels (such as FAR-SEER) were around 85,000, but 100,000 seems a good figure today. I wouldn't worry about getting yours down to 100,000 *unless* that otherwise improves the text (and, for most books, shorter probably *is* better). ;)

At February 25, 2009 10:21 AM , Blogger Larry Hodges said...

>I wouldn't worry about getting yours down to 100,000 *unless* that otherwise improves the text (and, for most books, shorter probably *is* better). ;)

Thanks for your suggestions. If it's at all like my short stories, during the rewriting stage I'll cut about 10%, but add about 10% to fill it out. It always seems balance out. However, in making word limits, a number of times I've had to switch into "merciless cutting mode," which inevitably cuts another 10% or so, and against pre-expectations, almost always makes the story better.

I'm looking forward to a weekend of "Wake" this year, and the same the next two years for "Watch" and "Wonder." That's a lot of writing hours you're taking away from me! :)


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