Average Book Length

15 Nov
Hugo Awards Logo

Hugo Awards Logo

Books vary in length. There are many factors such as the font, the size of the font, page size, etc. Typically we assume an average page contains 350 words. Then you have to ask yourself what is the “normal” length for a fantasy novel? Well, I have an answer that most people should accept seeing as it comes from a very good fantasy source.

The Hugo Awards state for their award categories they use the following word count:

  • Best Novel: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more.
  • Best Novella: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of between seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) and forty thousand (40,000) words.
  • Best Novelette: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of between seven thousand five hundred (7,500) and seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) words.
  • Best Short Story: Awarded for science fiction or fantasy story of less than seven thousand five hundred (7,500) words.

So, 40,000 words for a novel. Most novels I read, such as urban fantasy, are around 70,000 to 90,000 words. Takes me around 6 hours to read. My last novel was 135,000 words. So wow, poop on a stick! I should be splitting my novels into their two parts and selling them that way!  I would have FOUR books on the market by now!

Just kidding. I just write a lot of – very meaningful – words. I’ve always been verbose. I spend time describing the world that most best-selling authors don’t do. Lots and lots of dialogue interspaced with a little tell. That’s the big drive for acceptable mainstream novels these days. Writers always preach “Show don’t tell“. At its simplest, this phrase means to show the reader what is happening, or what the character is feeling by showing it, not telling. For example, you don’t write “He felt sad.” Instead, you would show it. For example: “The man hung his head and lifted a finger to wipe away a stray tear.” You’ve just shown he is sad instead of saying that he is sad. I admit it is a much better way of writing and lets the writer show his/her talent. That being said, it’s reached the point that if you don’t show and do tell, people will harshly critique you. I think it’s a step backwards in some ways. I love the tell that the classic fantasy authors provided – and don’t tell me they didn’t. Pun intended.

So why blog all this dribble? I have decided that after Freamhaigh, the fourth novel in the New Druids series, I will reduce the words in my next novels down to around 80,000 to 90,000 words. And publish more often. The New Druid series will embark on a series of smaller tales after Freamhaigh. Many ideas. Just need the time to write them.

Ciao!

Edited to correct grammar and the like. I rushed this blog post earlier today.

Too Much Material!

15 Nov
Stoc: A New Druids Novel, Volume Three

Stoc: A New Druids Novel, Volume Three

By the Word! I have Too Much Material! My wordsmithing skills are getting wordier. The more I write the third novel in the New Druids series the more I have to say. I outlined Stoc months ago and now that I am finally putting pen-to-paper [a colloquialism] I am rapidly discovering that the story can’t be told in 400 pages. I could – but I would be removing so much. You might remember that this happened during my first novel. I had an epiphany and realised I was well into my second novel.

Quite possibly I simply suck at creating outlines…

In any event, decisions will need to be made at some point. I’ll know more once I complete Part 1: Parry. This is not a bad thing. It just means that the final closure on the main story arc will be delayed somewhat.

The good news is that I have written over 25,000 words. I’m in the groove and loving it. I love this story and the characters. I hear their voices in my head when I write their dialogue. They surprise me often. Words come out of their mouths that I did not expect.

Yup. Crazy. I’ll update more in time.

Since I am here, I want to welcome all the fine folks over at the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Other Genres Facebook public page. Great group people!

Ciao!

Article on me in the RCN Crowsnest Magazine.

28 Oct

crowsnest-article-fantasy-author_rThe Public Affairs office of the Royal Canadian Navy just put up an article on yours truly in the RCN Crowsnest Magazine.  Here is the link. A nice article that touches on the things that matter most to me: family, writing and the RCN. If you didn’t know (which means you didn’t read my author page in my books) I am a Royal Canadian Navy senior officer. I am foremost a Maritime Surface officer but more importantly to me: a Communications specialist; which means I like networks and stuff. And I do. I truly am a geek and I am only comfortable around other geeks. I like people who throw out movie quotes from obscure and recent sci-fi and fantasy movies. I GET those people. Heh. I laugh at almost all the XKCD comics. Spider-Man is my personal hero.

What’s not to like about geeks, really? I see people in cosplay and think – wow, they are awesome. One of my proudest moments was at Awesomecon in Washington DC a couple of years back and my son cos-played Richard from Hot Line Miami. People were asking for his photo and calling out to him. It was a great day. I’m always proud of my kids – always – but some moments stand out. Like when he showed up in front of me with his electric guitar and started to play “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd – because I had mentioned it in passing one day. Or when my daughter was interviewed for a Canadian documentary on Doctor Who fans, dressed as the female version of the Tenth Doctor (he’s dreamy apparently). Or when she was accepted into a University of Ottawa program to promote women in engineering – twice.

Love life. Love Family. Love each other. Each to its absolute fullest. Peace out.

Oh, one last thing: Stoc is now at 20,000 words…this story is good…buy my books…leave reviews!

Stoc Underway At Long Last

24 Oct
Stoc: A New Druids Novel, Volume Three

Stoc: A New Druids Novel, Volume Three

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been so very caught up in other activities and to be honest I’ve been resting on my self-created laurels since I released Craobh.

Well, I have good news. Stoc is now being written and I’ve thrown together about 15,000 words. The prologue and first two chapters are complete in the first draft. It is consuming me and the story needs to get out! I can tell it will be a long novel (~135,000 words) and I am starting to think that perhaps I need to push some into the fourth novel, Freamhaigh. This happened to me with Duilleog. With Craobh not so much. Anyway, this is a series after all. I’m pretty excited about Stoc. It gets much more worldly. Up until now, I’ve left the storyline with Will and few others. I’ve hinted at a larger underlying theme but Stoc exposes it. I am so excited to finally be able to write about it and nervous as heck to reveal it. Gaea will guide me, I hope!

Changing tack: A curious thing happened over at Amazon.com to me. All my five-star reviews for Duilleog disappeared. I have a new one (thanks, R. Sailor!), but find it strange the others disappeared. I’ll have to ask Amazon what happened.

Speaking of reviews. If you’ve read my novels please be kind and leave a review on Amazon. Reviews are what pushes my novels into more mainstream. Good or bad, please take the time. Being a self-published author (or Indie Author if you prefer that) is hard work. Writing the novels is so much easier (and fun) than the marketing piece. I spend hours and hours every week on social media trying to get the word out. So help a dude out and spread the word and leave a review!