Significant ZT Milestone

For those of you wondering:

Zoe’s Tale just hit 90,000 words, which means that it’s officially contractual length (my Tor contracts specify books that are 100,000 words long, plus or minus ten percent). If all goes well, I’ll be done in the next 10,000 words or so.

In other words: Not long now.

Now stop bothering me. I’m working, damn it.

22 Comments on “Significant ZT Milestone”

  1. Just write “The End” wherever you are and turn it in. It’ll make the whole thing end on a vague note that will leave fuel discussion groups for years.

  2. I have not found the length of a book to have any relation to the quality or value of a book. Does tor think they are buying some bulk commodity like sausages?

  3. You’re fudging. That’s not a proper Blather Test Report. Now if you don’t fill out the correct web forms, in triplicate, with carbons, and notarized with the proper punch stamp — how will anyone ever believe you?


    The Department of Redundancy Department
    Dr. Phil
    Assistant Secretary to the Assistant Secretary

  4. Fred:

    “Does tor think they are buying some bulk commodity like sausages?”

    I believe Tor believes that having the book that length makes it easier for them to make, price and sell, so yes, commercial considerations are part of the equation there. That’s business, nor should it be at all surprising.

    Personally speaking I don’t have any problem with it because the natural length of my novels (i.e., how long the story I want to write needs to be to be told appropriately) fits right into that length anyway. If I was contractually obliged to write 120k, I might be in trouble.

  5. Oh, damnit. I was trying to be funny, but as soon as I hit ‘submit comment,’ it occurred to me that I just pimped myself outside a designated pimping area. My apologies. Feel free to delete the link.

  6. It’s going to take 10,000 words to “all of a sudden” blow up the universe and kill everybody? What, are you Melville?

  7. So… this is the bonus phase, so to speak. In terms of encouragement, I offer this: for every additional level of bonus or polish, you’ll probably sell an extra umpity-thousand books, therefore, fudging some math:

    If 10,000 words = additional $10,000.00 extra in royalties and
    you can write 10,000 words in 16 hours (10.41 WPM – seems reasonable), then your rate of pay over those two days for bonus and polishing will be an effective $625.00 per hour. I say: go for it!

    (Math majors: this is intended to be encouragement for the final push. Please do not bring anyone down with quibbles!)

  8. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang in boots

    Woot, I say, woot!

    I am actually whittling my novel down from 100K. We’re at 99,888 and shrinking.

  9. lannalee – Westbrook, Maine – Lanna Lee Maheux is a speaker, podcaster, actor, geek, silly person, femme fatale, singer, lover, twit, and recovering Stand-Up Comic. Host of the podcast Lounging with LannaLee. Since 2010 she has co-hosted The Lex and Lanna Show with Alexis Lyon. In 2011 she and her husband Edmund, started their own bi-weekly podcast, The Bureau of Awesome.
    Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn


  10. Gogogo! You can do it! Rah rah rah! You’re gonna make it!

    (… and hurry up so you can come back to entertain us!)

  11. Meanwhile, in the Flatiron Building in New York City, dozens of Tor employees break out into a wild, happy jig, chanting “John’s going to make it! John’s going to make it! Yayyy John!”

  12. Man, if Tor employees are actually at work on a Saturday, I’m gonna have to fly out and beat ’em with my own manuscript.

  13. I’m gonna have to fly out and beat ‘em with my own manuscript..

    Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!

    I’m just a few stops away on the subway. Send me the manuscript and I’ll beat anyone you want.

  14. Scalzi, if you are ever contractually obligated to supply 120K words but can only pinch out 90K, feel free to call on the Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club.

    We could easily supply a 30K word report extolling the marvels of Magnificent She and listing your deficiencies as Her acolyte. This would be an outline for a series of books, actually.

    The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club

  15. Hey! What are you doing? Are you writing a book? It looks like you are writing a book. What’s it about? Is it hard? Do you stop to eat sometimes? Where do you get your ideas for your books? Does it bother you sometimes that you don’t actually work?

    What are these? They look like more books. Did you write all these, too? How long did it take? Why did you call it that? Are these books any good? Sometimes I use the right sized books to prop up my monitor. These are too small.

    This sure is a small room. Hardly enough room for both of us. Can I put my drink down on your desk, on these papers? Don’t these cats get in your way?

    For a writer you don’t seem to talk a whole lot. Hmph.

  16. John,

    So how much is “Zoe’s Tale” going to change from the original manuscript to shiny book on the shelf? Or have you already duked it out with your editor on most of it?

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