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Topic: Finally doing research!

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Subject: Finally doing research!
Date Posted: 3/29/2009 2:01 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 38,893
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Hi guys-I know I have posted that i'm writing a book well I finally narrowed it down and i'm going to write a Christian Fiction Historical Romance novel.  I'm setting it sometime when the Alamo was really big-maybe towards the end of the war.  My dad works with one of the main officers of the historical society of the Alamo so i'm excited to possibly use him as my main contact for information.  He is also an author (my dad's contact).  My dad also said that we can take a long weekend trip down to see it sometime soon.  He is very excited about me writing a book.  =) 

My question is-any hints for a total newbie?

I have joined the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers)  organization, and was also improved to be an editor of other people's manuscripts which i'm excited about.  (had to do a few tests/questionaires)

Thanks so much for any and all advice-i've also learned that before you "turn in" a manuscript that they should be at least 40,000 words--does that sound about right to everyone?  Thanks guys i'm so excited to be starting this--I even bought a small binder to keep all my research information in! =)

Date Posted: 3/29/2009 11:57 AM ET
Member Since: 4/19/2007
Posts: 50
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Hey Keri,

It sounds like you are off to a good start.  I think the authentic reseach (going to the Alamo) would be beneficial.  I guess my one hint is that I have read that people can get really picky when it comes to historical stuff, so make sure you get the historical elements right. (I don't write historical fiction, but I read that on a blog.)

My other piece of advice is to just write.  I LOVE to research and read blogs and read books--lots of things ABOUT writing instead of actually writing. So there are some days I have to turn off the internet, turn off the tv, and just get to work.

On word count--I would aim for more like 50,000 to 60,000 words and then maybe even more for a historical piece (the history stuff can take up a lot of words.) Here is a discussion I read on historical fiction on a blog recently:  http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2009/03/106.html or on this post http://queryshark.blogspot.com/2009/03/105.html

Some books I have found helpful are Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott and Self-Editing for the Fiction Writer.

Good luck to you and keep us updated on your progress!!

Date Posted: 3/29/2009 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 38,893
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Thanks Aimee!  I have been to the Alamo before but it was when I was little and I don't really remember much of it!  And I know it has changed a lot since i've been.  Thanks for the blogs--will check them out!

Date Posted: 3/29/2009 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2007
Posts: 589
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Hi Keri,

40,000 words sounds a little short for a historical, usually they run about 50,000 (for category) up to 100,000 words. What I'd do is find the type of publisher you'd like to target your manuscript toward and then look at how many pages are in the historical books. One of the ways to guess the word count is to time the number of pages by 250. That gives a pretty good estimate on the word count of the book. 

Have fun with your research! = )



Date Posted: 3/29/2009 6:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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40,000- Romances can be this long, like Blaze and MMPBs.  BUT that is the finished edited word count, you want to write more then that for the first and second drafts.  I would aim for 60,000 first draft.