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Mâvarin and Other Inspirations

A Fantasy Writer's Journal

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Things I Still Don't Know About Heirs of Mâvarin
Fried Brain
As The Clarion Write-a-Thon proceeds, and I work on what's meant to be my final edit on my first novel, there are still things I wish I knew:

1. How important is it to have short chapters? I used to have this book broken into chapters that ran from 31 to 51 manuscript pages each. Each chapter had a title reflecting a theme that applied to several scenes in the chapter, sometimes several storylines. But after surveying some of my favorite books, I decided to break my mega-chapters into more bite size chunks. But that ruins, or at least dilutes, my chapter titles and themes organization. Does that matter? Do editors care whether chapters are long or short? Do readers?

2. For that matter, are chapter titles terribly passe and juvenile, even for a YA fantasy?

3. Does it matter that my new chapters average around 11 to 13 pages, but there's an outlier that's 23 pages long?

4. When I finish this edit, where the heck am I going to send it, or a query about it? I've used up most of the major fantasy publishers and more than a few agents in past attempts.

5. If I fail at #4 (i.e. get rejections or no response at all...again), is it time to consider e-publishing?


Sponsor my Clarion Write-a-Thon efforts here.

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I don't think resubmitting would be a problem, particularly if you've rewritten it, and particularly given how long it's been. Pyr is still taking unagented fantasy. Lou Anders will be at a convention I'm attending next month. I'm not doing the workshop, but I intend to sit in on some of his panels, and I'll be happy to pass along anything interesting. (Yeah, he's also attending the convention I'm chairing this fall, but being chair means not attending much of my own convention.)

Chapter length shouldn't matter, but if a publisher likes it, that's the kind of thing they'll offer guidance on in a developmental edit.

Chapter titles: go for it. That's one of the things they'll talk to you about after acceptance.

As for epublishing, why not? I used to be dead set against it, but no longer. The one thing I've discovered from reading self-published books is that you HAVE to get the manuscript beta'd out the wazoo. And you need good cover art. Okay, amongst the things I've discovered... ;-) But yeah, exhaust the other possibilities first.

Good luck!

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