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Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo ferry pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
I'll make a slight digression because I'm developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly. Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.
The next step is to build the marketing information you will use to present your novel to publishers and to the public. Here is an outline:
Title of Work:
Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer
L. D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, Washington State, Tacoma, Spanaway, Seattle, Computer, Pacific Lutheran University, Hacker, goddess, sushi, Redemption, kami, Japan, Shinto, torii, Shrine, engineering, math; will fascinate anyone interested in the spiritual, mystery, and suspense—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy historical mystery and suspense novels.
Synopsis: Approximately 500 Words
Concept of the Work: Approximately 250 Words
Registration: WGA, ISBN, or Library of Congress, Write the number.
Other Information: If you have more work, a website, anything interesting and professional, especially any awards or recognition.
Let's talk a bit about the length of a novel. Every novel is categorized by length. I write novels to be approximately 100,000 words. A novella is usually less than 50,000 words. Anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 is about right for a novel. If your novels are longer than 150,000 words, they are too long. Although the longest legitimate novel in the English language is Atlas Shrugged at one million words, that is an odd novel. Atlas Shrugged is a great novel and a powerful novel, but the writer was established and the novel is a classic. Your novel won't necessarily be that great. If you can't tell your story in about 100,000 words, you need to break your novel into smaller pieces.
I had a novel that began to become longer than it should. My Ghost Ship novels started as a single idea, but the first novel became longer than reasonable (more than 100,000 words). I cut the novel into two parts at a logical point. That single novel turned into five separate novels--I'm still writing on the fifth and last novel.
The point is that if a novel is too long, it won't be publishable. Plus, who can write a cohesive novel of greater than much more than 100,000 words. I'll give you as many as 150,000, but it better be really good--and you better be a published author. If you haven't proven yourself in a smaller way, you will certainly not be able to do it in a longer format. In any case, you need to list the length of your novel.
At this point everything I'm doing with and for this work is about marketing to a publisher and building a website.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: