This week I’ve got some practical and fun links about the average book length of popular novels; Van Gogh and plagiarism; words you should avoid in your writing; and a wonderful collection of critiques of e-book covers, among other things. I had a really productive week, finishing a lengthy chapter I was struggling with and getting one step closer to being done with the developmental interviews I’ve been conducting with my major characters. Hope yours was equally productive and enjoyable!
- Average Book Length: How Many Words are in a Novel – Curious how long to make your book? Some would say as long as it needs to be without a single word more, which is probably pretty sage advice, though not exactly the type of concrete information we neophytes are looking for. This article has a listing of some classic novels, their word count, and the percentage of books that exceed them in length. The average length, which I found shocking, is just 64,530 words.
- Lessons from Seattle’s Failed Bid to Rebrand its Library – Going a little local with this one, though it was an article that got national attention. SPL was on the path to spend 2 million dollars to effectively pluralize their name. Facepalm. The money wasn’t coming directly from public coffers (it was coming from a library foundation), but it was still a pretty big misstep for the library. That aside, the Seattle Public Library is one of the city’s most remarkable landmarks and is one of the first places I like to take out-of-town guests who come to visit. Just look at it!
- What Vincent Van Gogh Taught Me About Plagiarism – I was watching a documentary on Van Gogh recently and something the narrator (pretending to be Van Gogh) mentioned was that he learned how to become a better painter by essentially copying the works of artists he admired. I encountered this article by Gae-Lynn Woods just a few days later, purely by coincidence. You may remember a link I shared earlier this month by K.M. Weiland that mentioned copying passages in longhand from books you admire. Same principle. Writers and artists can use copying as a way to build muscle memory. This article neatly addresses any concerns you might have about plagiarism.
- 43 Words You Should Cut From Your Writing Right Now – I’m only partially through my first draft and I can already see the amount of words I’ll have to delete piling up, even as I type them. That’s okay, because thanks to lists like this one from Diana Urban (and the helpful Hemingway App), I know I’ll have the tools to help me edit. The thing I’m focusing on right now is to not worry about the inclusion of words on this list (or any adverbs at all for that matter), and to just focus on getting that first draft done. Second draft will be time to refine the structure. Third and subsequent drafts are when I plan to focus on the wordsmithing. Got any words you’d like to add to this list? Mention them in the comments below.
- E-Book Cover Design Awards, December 2015 – That cover you see for my e-book One Lousy Pirate was a DIY job. It’s not great. It wouldn’t win any awards, but I’m happy with it. Joel Friedlander,an expert in self-publishing, went through and critiqued over a hundred author-submitted covers last month. Click along to see the good, the bad, and well, I don’t think any of them were terribly ugly. There are some real standouts in this crowd, showing that it pays to hire a professional design team. I particularly like the cover for Naming the Bits Between.
A Day at B’s Barbecue – A couple of my graduate school friends linked to this wonderful article about one of my absolute favorite places to eat, not just in North Carolina, but anywhere. B’s Barbecue, located in Greenville, where we lived for five years, is unlike any other BBQ place I’ve been in and I’m glad to see they’re still open, even if for just a few more years. Unfortunately, the place has gotten so popular that the last time I stopped in to eat (while vacationing with my sister), we showed up too late and all the best food had already been sold out. It wasn’t like that in the 90s. I might be headed back to NC later this year to write the strategy guide for Gears of War 4… I’ll have to swing by Greenville good and early one morning and get myself one last plate of that eastern NC vinegar-based BBQ before I miss my chance.
Post Image by Jason McKnight, used under Creative Commons