When Squirrel's Go Fishing

November 22, 2009

It ain’t pretty let me tell you.  The carnage is unreal.  I’ve been hacking away at my WIP and I have since taken chapter 2 and buried it.  May chapter 1 & 2 RIP.  Can we have a moment in silence?  (Thank you Diana for chunking a rock at my head because I would not have axed them otherwise.) 

Then I looked at chapter 3, then 4, 5, 6 and I stopped.  Where is my hook?  I wanted to trash the whole story and start over.   There were bits of shinny objects posing as hooks all the way to chapter 7 but the hook came in chapter 7.  It was more like shooting fish in a barrel than a hook but it’s a way to catch a fish all the same.

Surely I don’t have 113K words of nothing, right?  (Yes, for goodness sake I know that is way too many words for a YA novel, I’ve got a lot of whittling.  BTW, I can’t find a clear word range for YA adult.  I’ve gotten anywhere from 40K to 85K.  Can someone narrow it better for me?)  So this little squirrel went back to square one.   Why am I having such a hard time with hooking so early? *giggles* Wendy just did a hooky piece and I feel like Bevis and Butthead, “Hehe Hehe, she said hooking.”   I find that I am trying to build my characters and their relationships to each other. I have a hard time just starting a story without you knowing a little bit about the characters.   Let’s face facts.  We all want a big fat juicy worm, figuratively speaking, on a hook not a background story.  

So I rewrote my synopsis.  This also brought my attention to what I like to call pot holes or the parts of the story that jar the reader, not a good thing.  I wrote through them on the first draft and having them there creates a lack of credibility or stability.   In rewriting my synopsis from where the story actually begins I found I had to create a new scene.  My hook if you will has spiraled a whole lot of other new scenes that have started to fill in the pot holes.  Overall I feel my story getting tighter and I’m getting excited.   I don’t dread the work ahead but I am impatient for a final product.   Finishing a book is only the beginning.  Sigh.

Okay, off to bait my hook and see if I can’t catch me a barracuda, aka agent. 

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  1. Congrats on finding the hook. :D Happy hacking!

  2. Well anytime, Gwoe, it was my pleasure :) Your story is interesting, so you've got that much going for you, and like Wendy blogged and I've told you, that beginning is the HARDEST part for most of us to get write. It's also the most crucial part. Especially when agents (and someday readers) won't give you much past a few pages to impress them.

    And I see that you share Wendy and my delicate sense of humor. Gotta have a good hookie, IF you know what I mean :)

    Word count for YA is exactly what you stated. Anywhere from 40K to about 85K, and some go even higher. YA hinges so thoroughly on voice that you have a lot more range in word count. Everyone seems to say, tell your story, in however many words it takes... but I get the sense that going over 85K will be a harder sell.

    I loved your line, "Finishing a book is only the beginning." Truth.

  3. Did you like the homonym (homophone? Help me out Wendy). It was their four you're enjoyment. I'm tempted to right a hole blog post on the little buggers, I seem to love them so much!

  4. Dominique - I had Diana look and my hook and she said I hook good baby. (ok maybe that's not exactly what she said but she liked it.)

    Diana - Thanks for the clarification on the word count. Ewe were write the second thyme. It's a homophone.

  5. Homophones. Ayyyyyyyyy. That's an annoying sound I make, you should be aware since we are beyond officially buddies now.

  6. Homophones are tricky little buggers. (I try to use that phrase in every single beta I do. It's extra fun while doing beta for Diana.)

    (I totally did a Beavis and Butthead while reading Matt's Flashy Fiction piece for today. I love moronic humor.)

    It's hard to cut away the extra to get to the hook, but it's worth it. I've noticed most YA is about the range you posted. There will be some that top that like Twilight--which I believe is just over 100K. Still, with your first book, you should really stick to the midrange. I'm trying to get my adult book under 100K. Blech. I hate cutting things. My YA books range from 45 K to 80 K, I believe, but I've got that posted on my blog at the bottom, and Scorched is going to end at around 70-75 K.


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