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Word Count

June 22, 2017 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , , ,

Word Count | Veronica Jorge | A Slice of Orange

So who established word counts? And when did words become so expensive to print that they require massive cuts, like the U.S. budget?  Does that mean that in today’s market James Joyce’s, Ulysses wouldn’t make it to publication? Or past the word police? Would an agent even get through the first five pages?

I can imagine an editor skimming through Chapter One of Charles Dickens’, A Tale of Two Cities. “… it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of unbelief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,…we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way….Yada, yada, yada.” His critique might be, “A rambling paragraph with enough commas to fill an entire chapter. Excessive word count, repetitive and burdensome. Guy probably sent it to me by mistake. I’ll have to let him know that we don’t publish psychiatric diaries.”

The editor would most likely want to limit the count of ‘to be’ verbs. By those standards, I guess Shakespeare wouldn’t make the cut it either, “To be or not to be.”

Write from the Heart | Veronica Jorge | A Slice of OrangeWhen did we get so busy and pressed for time that we gulp down a book so we can get on to the next one? When did our palate become so insipid that we can no longer relish and savor the taste of words making us miss the whole joy of the language journey?

I recall the film, The Agony and the Ecstasy. No, it’s not a sexy romance. Sorry. It depicts the story of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Several scenes show Pope Sixtus IV impatiently interrupting the artist at work to ask, “When will it be finished?” to which Michelangelo would always reply, “When it is finished.”

Like Michelangelo’s paintbrush, I bristle at the agent mantra to keep it short, be concise. Yes, I know words cost money and time is money. But so did paint back then. What might the Sistine Chapel look like today if Michelangelo had raced to finish it, or had been limited by how many paint colors he could use? “Tone it down. Don’t apply the paint too thickly. Stay on budget.”

Logically, I understand that rules and formats, and word counts must apply. But when I was a teacher I didn’t teach to the test because that’s not good pedagogy. For me, a creative work is finished when it is finished. And as a writer, I don’t want to write to the word count, but I do always want to make every word count.

See you next time on July 22nd.


Veronica Jorge

Manager, Educator, and former High School Social Studies teacher, Veronica credits her love of history to the potpourri of cultures that make up her own life and to her upbringing in diverse Brooklyn, New York.  Her genres of choice are Historical Fiction where she always makes new discoveries and Children’s Picture Books because there are so many wonderful worlds yet to be imagined and visited. She currently resides in Macungie, PA.


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Do you feel lucky?

March 3, 2013 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

Kind of an appropriate topic with our upcoming St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, even I become a little bit Irish on this “holiday.” But, it’s true. My paternal grandmother was half-Italian and half-Irish.
In the last week, I’ve had one novella and three short stories accepted for publication, and I’m feeling quite blessed about it. Why then would I be a little bit pensive? Some nagging thought in the back of my mind – in a voice that sounds very much like a friend of mine – keeps saying, “Oh, you are so lucky. You have it so easy.”
You see, one friend who doesn’t quite understand regularly told me that whenever we talked. And while a part of it might have something to do with luck, a whole lot more deals with hard work and determination.
First, there comes the writing. At meetings, people have repeatedly said to get your BITC – Butt In The Chair. If you don’t write, you won’t have anything to submit.
And that’s part of the next step – you must submit your work if you ever want a chance at being published. I sat on stories for years before I first ventured to sending them out, so I definitely know what I’m talking about.
Determination comes with continuing to submit, even if you’re faced with the evil rejection. It sucks. It hurts. It makes my stomach burn.
Get over it. If you’re feeling “iffy” about the piece, ask someone else to read it, fix it and then send it out again.
One of the stories accepted I waited one year and four months on. Seriously: a year and a half. Periodically, I’d check in with the editor to see its status, and she’d tell me the anthology wasn’t done yet. I moaned about it. I complained. I fretted.
This week I decided enough was enough. After asking a friend her advice, and her rolling her eyes at me because I’d probably whined way too much over the last sixteen months, I wrote directly to the publisher. Last year, they released one of my short stories as a standalone, and I suggested they might want to publish this one individually “until the anthology is done.” About thirty-six hours later, she replied that she loved it, and would send me a contract.
Was the decision to follow-up – again – easy? No way. In fact, it felt a bit pushy, and I don’t do pushy.
Sometimes, though, determination kicks in.
Four acceptances with three publishers in one week are pretty miraculous, and at this moment, I have two more outstanding. Guess what I’m doing tonight? I’m writing – working on the next one.
So tell me: Do you feel lucky?
How can we get you there? 

— Louisa Bacio

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April Submissions

April 1, 2011 by in category Archives tagged as , ,

This month brings a diverse set of calls, and information on a few new publishers, including Entangled Publishing. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration …

Entangled Publishing, a new exclusive boutique publisher, is seeking novels and novellas in the following subgenres of romantic fiction for publication in August 2011 and beyond: Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, Contemporary, Romantic Thrillers, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Upper “YA” (17 to 22-year-old protagonists) that will appeal to crossover audiences.

Guidelines: All submissions must have strong romantic elements. Novels should be 70k to 120k words in length, novellas should be 20k to 40k words in length. We consider all heat levels, however erotic elements should not be the focus of the story. Revised backlist titles will be considered on a case by case basis. For more information, visit http://entangledpublishing.com/.

Call for Submissions – DANGEROUS CURVES Erotic Romance Anthology. Editor Mira Paul is looking for original, unpublished erotic romance stories featuring curvy, voluptuous, full-figured women.  Think Cameyn Manheim, America Ferrera, Sara Ramirez, Christina Hendricks, Jennifer Hudson or Wynona Judd. All the stories must have enthralling characters, a strong plot, steaming sex and a happy ever after or happy for now ending.  This is not the anthology for your story centering on a woman who loathes the way that she looks.  All stories must feature a strong, sexy full-figured heroine who loves they way she looks and feels and who revels in her ample awesomeness.  I’d like to see stories about princesses, models, etc., all the glamour occupations that we would see in a “regular” romance anthology. All sexual orientations welcome.  Feel free to include kink, roleplay, paranormal and fantasy elements.  No historical romance or ménage-a-trois. 

Submission Guidelines: Story length is 2,500 to 5,000 words. Email submissions to mirapaul.editor at gmail dot com as a double-spaced Word or RTF attachment with “Dangerous Curves Submission” in the subject line.  Please include your name (and pseudonym if applicable), bio, mailing address, email, title of the piece and word count as part of your document.  The footer of each page should include your name and page number. Deadline: May 15, 2010.

: Ravenous Romance short story advance of $10, a copy of the anthology, plus a pro rata share of any revenue/subsidiary rights. 
New Dawning Bookfair is seeking clever, imaginative versions of all fairy tales. Do you have a favorite Fairy Tale? Have any ideas how to put a new slant on it? We’d like to see it. Pen your favorite fairy tale as an erotic, Frolicking Fairy Tale, a romantic, Fanciful
Fairy Tale or young adult, Frisky Fairy Tale in 6,000 to 25,000 words and submit it
by April 20. If we like it, New Dawning Bookfair will include it in their grand opening, May 20 or shortly thereafter.
Please send an email with the name of the fairy tale you plan to submit to avoid duplicates.  For more information, visit http://www.newdawningbookfair.com.
Rebel Ink Press is a small, independent publisher of romance related novels that run the gamut from young adult all the way to sizzling erotica. Since their official opening in September 2010, Rebel has signed both new and seasoned cutting edge authors from several genres. Rebel Ink Press has released information that they are now open for submissions in all genres of romance. If you are a writer looking for a quality press with a personal touch, Rebel Ink Press may be for you. Their submissions guidelines can be found at: http://www.rebelink press.com/submission-info.html.
Submissions call for Voluted Tales Magazine at www.volutedtales.com. Paying market. Six editions: General, Themes, Serials, Young Adult, Paranormal Romance and Noir Thriller. Speculative fiction of all genres and sub-genres, shorts from flash fiction and poetry up to novelettes at 40,000 words serialized. Artwork for covers and internal.

Compiled by Louisa Bacio
Coming Soon: The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome

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