Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 6

writing, writing group, support

If you’re wondering what Ready. Set. WRITE! is all about, it’s a summer long writing intensive with the purpose of writing, revising, planning, and keeping each other accountable. This year, your RSW hosts are Alison Miller, Katy Upperman, Erin Funk, and Jaime Morrow. If you’d like more information or to participate in Ready. Set. WRITE click here.

Monday, July 14-Week 6

1.  How I did on last week’s goalsMy goal was to revise A VOICE AMONG THE THORNS. I worked on revisions but life intruded and I didn’t finish them. This impacted my goal of querying agents because one should never query an unfinished manuscript (I have that rule down 😉 )

But the delay allowed me to send the query to Query Drill which Karyne mentioned in a great post on her blog. I’m looking forward to their feedback.

2.  My goal(s) for this week- Finish revisions and give A VOICE AMONG THE THORNS a final polish. I’m going to be ambitious and say I’ll begin querying Friday. 

3.  A one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised-  Inserting scenes I’d cut in an attempt to get my word count down. The beta reader’s comments showed me where I cut out too much. It’s so hard to determine the YA sweet-spot. I’ve heard 70,000 words is the absolute ceiling then I read 80,000 is the norm for YA contemporary. It looks like I’m going to end up at 75,000 when I’ve finished revising.  For those of you writing YA, what are your thoughts on word count?

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write)Finding time to write and being motivated. My inspiration puttered out last week. I think the constant interruptions had something to do with it.

5.  Something I love about my WiPI’m quite pleased with it. All the time, effort and perseverance were worth it.  

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.  Good luck to you on your goals!

writing, publishing, books


36 comments on “Ready. Set. WRITE! Week 6

  1. I really do applaud this kind of thing, but I don’t think I’d ever be organised enough to take part. Once I set off writing a book, I tend to be pretty focused on it, but getting started is never easy I know


  2. Word count is a tricky thing. I mean, you don’t want to query a 150K YA, BUT I queried a 98K one last year and had over 15 requests – more than I’ve ever gotten for any of my stories. So, I think it’s a matter of word count balancing with premise and writing perhaps. But yes, you should be very good at 75K.

    Good luck with the revisions and querying this week!


  3. I took a writing seminar last month and the writer (who has dozens of published children’s books under her belt) said publishers aren’t looking for finished works–they want to know you’re willing to revise or tweak the novel according to what they’re looking for. It was news to me; I always thought I needed to have the book completely finished! Just FYI.


  4. Here’s a post I used to reference a lot regarding word counts. http://theswivet.blogspot.com/2008/03/on-word-counts-and-novel-length.html Though I do think Alison nailed it on the head with her comment. Good luck with the final polish this week — and with starting to query. So exciting 🙂


  5. Best of luck wrapping up your revision, Dawne! I’m sending you all kinds of positive query vibes. 🙂


  6. My goal is to get something finished! I’m working on getting short stories published and then work on novellas. When I don’t feel inspiration for a story I have been working on, I work on another story in progress. I have many lined up in hanging file folders and it keeps the muse fresh when I switch stories every once in a while. Each story inches its way to completion. I have a short story I’ve written a query letter for and am researching magazines to send it to.


    • Have you found any magazines you’d like to submit to yet? Which story have you decided on?


      • I’ve got the names of 5 magazines but I want to get ahold of copies to make sure they would be right for my story. The story I have ready now is one about how we shouldn’t assume we know what people are thinking.


  7. Good luck with your revision and querying!! My word counts usually end up being around 60-70,000 for contemporary YA, but I’m not even close to published so who knows if that’s a good number or not, haha…


  8. Your biggest challenge this week was also my biggest challenge this week. Something about summer, hey? Well, I hope we’re both able to power through the distractions and lack of motivation this week!


  9. Yay for Query Drill! Hope it’s helpful. And I agree that your wordcount is perfectly fine – don’t stress over that. It’s possible publishers don’t mind if you submit unfinished work (I haven’t researched that end of things), but agents want your work perfectly polished, so if you’re submitting to agents, stick with your gut and polish that baby until it shines!


  10. I’ve heard anything from 60K to 100K is fine for YA – 100K being the absolute max for a debut. Mine tend to fall between 60K and 80K, and it can really vary! I think contemporary tends to be shorter while fantasy is longer because of the necessary worldbuilding.

    Best of luck with the query preparations! 🙂


  11. My agent told me that they like word count to be a little on the lower end; you’re going to be doing SO many edits (seriously…SO MANY…) with your agent and then again with the editor that it’s better not to overwrite. Word count is always a tricky thing! I’d say if your story is super polished and fleshed out at 70-75k, then stick with that :). Hope this week is productive for you!!


  12. I heard from an editor once that they look for new authors at around 60K. And contemps are usually on the lower side. Honestly, I think it’s all subjective. Too many right answers. Congrats on being so close.


  13. I spoke to some publishing folks at a con this year and they told me that 90,000 is not out of the question on YA fantasy, but anywhere between 70 and 90 is a good place to be


  14. How exciting that you’re so close to the querying stage. I submitted to QueryDrill and got some feedback. It’s a great opportunity to see how it works for people who read them all the time!


  15. Oh man, don’t even get me going on word count! I have to confess, I’m not a fan of size restraints on stories. I always figure, as long as they’re interesting, the pace is good, and they’re edited well, then why should there be a rule about word count? Alas, there is though. I’m always worried about cutting out too much or trimming the wrong thing, so it’s great that your beta gave you good guidance on what to add back into the story. Best of luck finishing your revisions and polishing everything up before querying! 🙂


    • Thanks, Erin. I agree with you about the word count. And another thing (while we’re on the subject), there may be a rule, but how is one supposed to follow it when nobody agrees on it?
      Hope you have a great week!


  16. Dawne that you so much for welcoming me here on the RSW wagon :). My first YA novel which I’ve put on revise pause is about 50.000 words, my first professional editor told me it was a good count for a YA novel, so I don’t know for sure.

    Good luck with the querying.

    So i read that you have a beta reader. How can I find a beta reader? any tip?


    • Finding betas for my YA novel was easy because some of my friends/acquaintances have teen-aged daughters that are avid readers. I tried to ask those daughters that I don’t really know. I figured they’d give me more honest feedback. Also, as long as they didn’t put their names on their comments, I wouldn’t know who wrote them and that would make them more comfortable as well. It seems to have worked because I got some very helpful suggestions. Hope that makes sense 😉


  17. Any progress is good progress. I know. I’m in the revision phase, too!


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