Saturday, June 19, 2010

A Matter of Style

When I described Marty in the first chapter, one paragraph read:

"Her one concession to style was her earrings. The thin gold-plated fishhooks looped through her ears, and dropped in front where each held a polished opal stone separated from a small shaft of lavender quartz by a gold-plated bead."

It was important to describe the earrings. It was important to have them made of materials that would not be too modern. She gives them to Green Corn, my Lenni Lenape woman, in what Marty later learns is the year 1748.

Speaking of style, that is where I am delving. No, not into fashion, but into editing. Chicago Manual of Style is the industry standard for law and other technical fields, but what I own is Webster's Standard American Style Manual. Necessary, if not fascinating, reading when one is doing the final edits on a manuscript.

I have also found a professional copy-editor (Is that styled correctly?). Unfortunately, she is leaving on a month-long vacation. But, hey, at least I know that when I get an agent to say, "We are interested in your manuscript. But, Hon, you really need a copy-editor to go over this thing before it goes to a publisher," I have one I can hire. (Now, was that a sentence that needs copy-editing, or what?)

I am still whittling down that word count. I am claiming this novel at 107,000 words. I currently am at 107,478 words. Go, delete key!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Choose Your Pick

YES! I did get my first email query for Aurora Rescue off to an agency.

NO! It was not an easy process.

As if it was not enough to study from among my pre-selected possible agencies to be sure I was preparing a submission according to their guidelines, I was dealing with another issue.

I want to track my submissions on my new laptop, sans MS Word. Even though Open Office is supposed to be compatible, well it almost is. It is the little quirks that are not real compatible that just about drove me nuts last night.

As if that was not bad enough, transferring the ODT document that originated as a DOC document into the body of a Thunderbird email message was less than delightful. More formatting there in hopes that once the query and sample pages were sent, it would look like something decent on the receiving end.

Then there was that other little quirk.

After a little more editing--okay, I admit, I can edit 'til the end of time if I let myself--my grand total of words for Aurora Rescue in Open Office is 112,475. I took the exact same manuscript and dumped it into a MS Word document and came up with 110,571 words. A little bit of a discrepancy, wouldn't you say?

So, what I am I going to say to those agents who want a word count included as part of the query? I guess I can choose my pick.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Red-Letter Day

Yesterday was a "red-letter day." I not only have finished my Green Corn segment in Aurora Rescue, I finished the editing. I am at 110,749 words. A little over the upper goal of 110,000, but a far cry from the 148,004 less the Green Willow section and the double-paste Section Three to get to 106,648. I added the Green Corn, which upped it a few thousand words, but I cut-cut-cut from the Kezia section. As far as I am concerned, I'm good until I am told I have to cut some more.

My next project was to get everything transferred to my new computer. I may have mentioned earlier that I bought it when the older laptop started to stick, jump and otherwise act up. As I write this, I am still using it. But, I have the new one just in case this one decides to "crash and burn" on me.

As for transferring everything for tracking my agent queries and beyond (love that ten-key for numbers), not as easy as one would think. I bought the new laptop stripped of software, and decided to go with Open Office. Unfortunately, because there is a trial version of MS Word on there, it keeps activating when I open Word documents. So, I have converted all my files on the old laptop to Open Office. I mean, between my writing and my research notes, there are HUNDREDS of files that needed converting. That took me HOURS.

The actual text of the novel, the five-page sample, the ten-page sample and the first chapter sample (different editors want different samples for consideration) are all in rich text format. I have that plus all my novel files and my publishing files backed-up three places. Now, I will transfer it to the new laptop. My goal is to send out my first agent query tomorrow.

Part of the object is, you see, to get from the red into the black. I want to get this novel sold!