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


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.

 

Author Bio
Author Bio
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.
  • FIVE BELLES TOO MANY: A Sarah Blair Mystery  BY DEBRA H. GOLDSTEIN—REVIEWED BY VERONICA JORGE

    She’s done it again! In her new cozy mystery, Five Belles Too Many, Debra H. Goldstein once again shows her mastery at creating a tangle of secret lives and ambitious hearts where she hides the killer in plain sight within the story. And though we meticulously follow the clues she scatters for us, we’re always thrown for a loop because the killer is never who we think.

  • Poetic Thoughts by Veronica Jorge

    March was World Poetry Day, and April was National Poetry month. During a recent webinar sponsored by the Highlights Foundation, the authors Margarita Engle and Padma Venkatraman expressed the following thoughts:

  • Her Story by Veronica Jorge

    This month, I’d like to share with you a few of the books that have moved, inspired, and touched my life. They are the voices of fellow-women across the globe; sisters, friends, women.

  • BOOK REVIEW: THE HIDING GAME by Gwen Strauss

    Picture books, that welcoming world of imagery and words that capture the heart and the imagination. And most wonderful of all, when the story is true and reveals a hidden gem.

  • The Librarian of Auschwitz: A Book Review by Veronica Jorge

    “Books can’t be used as weapons. They can’t fill a hungry stomach or quench thirst. They can’t cure illnesses, loneliness or prejudice.”

    Or can they?

Nothing Found

#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A DRAKENFALL CHRISTMAS

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Buy now!
FOREIGN RELATIONS

FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

Buy now!
FORGIVING MARIELA CAMACHO

FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

Buy now!
FORGIVING MAXIMO ROTHMAN

FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

Buy now!
FORGIVING STEPHEN REDMOND

MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

Buy now!
MIGUEL’S BRAVE KNIGHT

MY FRIEND JACKSON

Buy now!
MY FRIEND JACKSON

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

Buy now!
ONE TASTE TOO MANY

SECRET RELATIONS

Buy now!
SECRET RELATIONS
SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

SEVERED RELATIONS

Buy now!
SEVERED RELATIONS

THE ALLIANCE

Buy now!
THE ALLIANCE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN PICKED UP A PENNY

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

Buy now!
THE LAST GOODNIGHT

THE ONLY ROAD

Buy now!
THE ONLY ROAD
THE RELUCTANT GROOM AND OTHER HISTORICAL STORIES

THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

Buy now!
THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

THREE TREATS TOO MANY

Buy now!
THREE TREATS TOO MANY

TWO BITES TOO MANY

Buy now!
TWO BITES TOO MANY
×
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.
Latest Posts
  • taristhread says:

    Great post Veronica! As you know, cutting isn’t the big problem for me, but word counts are! We definitely agree that making every word count is key. I love your question about whether some of the great writers would be published by today’s standars. Makes me wonder how many great works have been passed over because of numbers.

    • Veronica Jorge says:

      Yes, the great writers we still read today are so varied in language, depth, and style which is why they’re still around. I want to be part of that group.

  • Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM

    >