If only I'd had one more month, I could have knocked a hundred pages out of it without breaking a sweat.
With a little sweating, two hundred pages. Of course, two hundred pages shorter would still be too long for prevailing market conditions.
Current page count: 986
Everybody who's friended me who knows anything about the publishing industry is now gasping for breath, having spewed coffee on the computer screen in a combination of amusement, horror, and disbelief at the sight of that figure. With a manuscript that long, questions of quality are completely moot.
And that's Volume One after I cut the first book in half. The first draft of my original conception of Volume One was longer than that when I still had a third of the story left to tell, so this is an improvement. But, damn.
Have I done a word count of the current working draft? Why, no. If I thought too hard about a word count, I would weep.
When the Shiny Young Agent opens the box, she will take one look at the size of the manuscript, and then ship it back unread. I provided her with a prepaid shipping airbill for the purpose. Either she'll return it unread, or she'll have a heart attack over the length. Possibly, she'll have a heart attack from the exertion of trying to lift the box.
The current working draft weighs about three pounds more than my niece did when she was born.
Of course, the Shiny Young Agent has been warned that the book is too long, and that the second half of the working draft is still very rough. She knows, and she wanted it ASAP anyway. I keep reminding myself so. Dan keeps reminding me so. Lots of people do. I'll confess, I'm fishing for reassurance, but not about that. Wait for it.
Tried celebrating last night, and last night that kind of worked. Went to see Serenity with friends. (Joss Whedon giveth and Joss Whedon taketh away. Praised be the name of Joss Whedon.) Went out for a drink afterward. Talked like a pirate while seizing tables for our too-large group. Lovely, lovely. Yet, today, the sense of doom kicks in.
Submitting the poetry for publication never felt like this. My dissertation defense was harder, but that was due largely to the structural violence of the university. Certainly, the professors on my committee were enthusiastic partisans of my work, but the traditions accreted to the occasion were designed to inculcate terror. The Shiny Young Agent is not interested in inculcating terror, is instead cordial and encouraging. Can't blame anybody for the sense of doom, unless it's me.
So, a question for those of you who've sent your novels out into the world before, especially if you've done it more than once: Is this normal?
Anyhow, there are five short stories that all want me to write them right now. There's the short prequel to outline before Nanowrimo starts in November. The one thing I can't do is tinker with the manuscript I've just sent out until I hear back from the Shiny Young Agent.
So tomorrow, I roll up my sleeves, put up my hair, and get back to work.