Friday, June 24, 2022

What We're Writing--Debs Confronts the Doorstop

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I have news!! I finally got to type the two most satisfying words in the English language, at least for me: THE END

A KILLING OF INNOCENTS, Kincaid/James #19, is finally, finally finished!! Trumpets, please!


That's the good news. 

The bad news is that the finished manuscript is 550 pages long, about 126,00 words, so yes, I confess that I'm Red A from Hallie's Behind the Scenes at the Sausage Factory post on Monday. That is a doorstop of a book.


My wonderful and very patient editor was happy with the family thread and the crime (relief on both fronts!), but thinks the book needs to be 100 to 150 pages shorter. That's a lot of pages and a pretty daunting prospect, especially on a really tight production schedule. 

I confess that I am (obviously) an over-writer. I put in too much detail, and I am perpetually guilty of telling not showing, one of the cardinal writing sins. And I love putting in directions, which makes my editor want to tear her hair out. Readers don't really want to know where your character turned left or right and which street leads to into what street, or which bus they take. I realize this is my way of putting myself into a scene, but it should definitely be a case of less is more. 

So how do you go about cutting that many pages? You snip a sentence here, a paragraph there, an entire scene if it's not advancing the plot, and all those little tweaks add up. Or at least that's the idea! I'm down 70 pages now, at a bit more than halfway through the book, and I promise you won't miss them.

Readers, do you think about length when you choose a book? Do you have preferences, depending of the type of book? I might expect, for instance, a fantasy novel to be longer than a mystery, or a multiple viewpoint story to be longer than one told from first person. I want a book to be long enough to be satisfying, but not so long that I think I need a vacation to read it--unless I actually have a vacation to read it in!

A KILLING OF INNOCENTS is available for pre-order from all your favorite booksellers.

119 comments:

  1. I think it must be hard to cut things out of a story that you’ve labored over, but I’m also sure it will end up being just delightful. [I’m really looking forward to reading “A Killing of Innocents”] . . . .

    I must confess that when I’m choosing a book, I never look to see the length . . . .

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    1. Labored is the word, Joan! I just hope it doesn't read like it once all the editing is done.

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    2. I have been looking forward to this book for a long time. I love the family story line and I enjoy the “left and right “ street directions and sometimes follow them on a map. I like recognizing locations from my trips to London.

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    3. I’m with Jeannie. The maps in your books are a real treat for me. And I truly enjoy following the characters around London.

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    4. If it’s one of your books, Deb, the longer the better

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  2. I was about to write "I never think about length," but then realized I avoid books that are TOO SHORT. Novellas are not for me. Otherwise I am happy to spend a longer time with characters that I enjoy.

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    1. I will read novellas by an author I like--I've loved Jenn's Museum of Literature novellas.

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  3. DEBS: Yay, typing "THE END" must have been so gratifying! It sounds like you have a grueling job of culling a good chunk of those (precious) words.

    As for book length, I used to be able to read long books, no problem. But with long COVID brain fog, my attention span is now shot. I used to be able to read a 300-page book in less than a day. Now it takes me 5-15 days to finish reading any fiction book. That's why I have switched to reading mostly non-fiction this year. I can browse, read a chapter & stop.

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    1. Grace, that must be incredibly frustrating. i hope your concentration is improving gradually.

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  4. Congratulations! But I am stunned you have the cover before the book was finished. And goodness, cutting so much? I've had to cut a few hundred words out of a short story from time to time, but nothing like you're facing. I'm like whichever Red said she struggled to get to 70k!

    I am daunted by long books (unless you were the author). A friend loaned me a Wally Lamb book that is so thick I haven't dared open it.

    Looking forward to your finished product!

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    1. Edith, we've had the cover for months. The book is out in February, hence the tight production schedule. I just couldn't get to the end!

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    2. I typed The End 10 days ago on the next French village mystery, but of course it’s never the end! Due to editor July 1, but won’t come out until March.

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    3. Oh, that was me, Susan Shea. Sorry.

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    4. Congrats, Susan!! I'm so excited about your book!!

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  5. I confess, I do consider length as a reader. On rare occasions I will go ahead with a fat-book read, but not often. Part of it is because there are so many books out there. As the saying goes, "So many books, so little time." :-)

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    1. So much of it is mood and circumstance, I think. I love a good, really long book, but not when I'm frazzled and frantic trying to deal with work and life stuff.

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  6. Congrats, Debs! Looking forward to reading it...and I know you can get the words down to where they need to be.In general, I find most books above 400+ could use some editing and I am reluctant to commit so much of my life to one book. Like Grace, I find it harder to lose myself in a long story these days. There are exceptions though- it helps if I really trust the author. I've just started Amor Towles Lincoln Highway - 500+- and there's no doubt that I will read it all and think it time well spent. Felt the same about Great Circle, which was even longer.

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    1. Triss, I so agree about the editing. I read so many books that needed cutting, and I sometime wonder if the author even had an editor. It's also dangerous to read other author's books whil editing your own, because your mind is in hack-and-slash mode:-)

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    2. I read both and liked them both and felt the length was appropriate for each. I hate endings that are the rushed last 20 pages and make you feel the author had a set limit of pages and had to end fast.

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  7. What a thought provoking post. I guess it depends on if I like the author's writing style. I just finished a long popular best seller and kept thinking that absolutely nothing seemed to be happening and was there even a plot, it was just words, words. Now with Debs book I will happily read for days. I love her sense of place, the tidbits we learn about all the characters, the food, the weather…For a writer maybe it comes down to writing your style. Some readers will love it, some not so much. Oh, and a good editor to keep the plot moving.

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    1. Oh, dear, I've just cut out some big chunks of food description! But they were taking the tension out of the scene, so snip, snip. And thank you so much!

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  8. This comment was from Susie Morrison, can’t seem to get Blogger to post under my name today. And Debs, I've already pre ordered your book so keep those edits going.

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  9. I would read anything in this series no matter how long. If the characters are well developed I like long books. Looking forward to it.

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  10. Celia - oh that I could read A Killing of Innocents in its current form. Congratulations for reaching THE END, and I can’t wait to read it. My only beef on long books is their weight. I find it harder to hold them up but of course now I get a Kindle copy. Thanks Debs so looking forward to all the detail left when it arrives.

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    1. Thank you, Celia! Yes, you would want to know that they took the 21 bus down Shaftsbury Avenue to Piccadilly Circus, then walked up Great Windmill Street, passing Ham Yard and the Lyric Theatre. I wrote too much of this book using Google Maps!

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    2. I often open Google maps while I’m reading your books. I guess I’m just as much of a map nerd as you. Love being able to imagine AND see the settings. So painful to have to cut so much! A coauthor and I did the same thing in a tech book we wrote. Editor said length was fine until he saw it. Then the word was slash 50%. But they did end up publishing the full thing in a different tech series. Good luck with the slashing. Can’t wait to read it!!

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    3. 50 %! Yikes! That must have been a huge job!

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  11. First of all, congratulations on getting to the end. Secondly, your book has been pre-ordered and soon the audio will be pre-ordered, too. I prefer to read a book first and listen to it later.

    I am stunned that you are Red A. Certainly, that was Hank. We all know that her happy place is cutting out the fat. (Also, cracking up here over your street directions. I get so OCD about where things are located in stories that I want to thank you for removing most of it, or I'd be flipping to the map 10 times a page.)

    I absolutely choose books by length, but not whether I will read one, just when. Right now , the latest book from one of my favorite series has been sitting for 2 months because it is a lot longer than the usual mystery. I have just finished the last library book and that story is the next one off the TBR pile.

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    1. Thank you, Judy! And I know, Hank's talked often about how much she loves cutting. It is really satisfying, I have to admit. When I've snipped down a chapter and then I read it again and it's so much better--that's exhilarating!

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  12. Debs, congratulations!! We are so happy--and I loved loved loved your title today. I agree with not preferring too short--it can be a struggle to get into the author's world, and then it's over! But yes, too long can be daunting too--unless it's a series or author I know. I just finished Natasha Lester's THE PARIS--462 pages. But I chose it because I was going to be traveling and wanted something that would last.

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    1. Roberta, you've all been so supportive--I wish we could all drink a glass of bubbly together to celebrate! I think a book with multiple time lines can be longer. Did you like the Natasha Lester?

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  13. Ta-da!! This really is exciting news, Debs! I know you can cut enough, and have the resulting book be absolutely as wonderful as usual.

    Before Covid, I read so fast that the bigger the book, the better. I took four long books with me for a two week trip with my sister-in-law and her two friends, and they were supposed to do the same so we could swap. I read all my books, then had nothing to read because none of them had finished their first book. Sadly, that doesn't happen any more, but I still like big, juicy stories if they're well written. Gone are the days of binge-REreading of long series when the newest book comes out.

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    1. Thank you, Karen, and I hope you get your reading mojo back. I love rereading a series when I new book is coming out, but seldom have the time to do it. And so much of my reading is done in little snippets. I'm hoping, between edits and copy edit, to get in a "reading day" or two. That would be absolute bliss.

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  14. Congrats, Debs! I love big books, so as a reader I say, Leave it long! But, as a writer, I know editors have thoughts about these things and sometimes trimming can be a good thing. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! Good editors are beyond rubies! Your book arrived on Tuesday and I'm dying to read it, but I'm saving it until I've finished my edits. I want to be able to plunge in with undivided attention!

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  15. Congratulations! I just finished slashing all the "travel to and coming from" scenes which really tightened things up, no matter how charming the nineteenth century horse trough is planted with petunias.

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    1. I don't know, I would quite like to have seen the horse trough planted with petunias:)

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  16. Congratulations, Deb! Can't wait!

    I don't really look at book length and I have the same expectations as you. I've been on an epic fantasy kick and none of those books are less than 550 pages long (the longest was a mass-market paperback at 890). Fantasy has to do a lot of world-building, though. I generally expect my mysteries to be tighter (between 300 and 400 pages). But in either case, a lot of "and this, then this, blah, blah, blah" will drive me crazy.

    LIE DOWN WITH DOGS, which comes out in August, tipped the scales at almost 100,000 words when I finished the first draft. Part of fixing that required revising a whole sub-plot. Cut words and scenes abounded and the final product was 89,000 words or so. But as Hank says, the story was much better for it.

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    1. Thanks, Liz, and I love the title of your book. So intriguing!

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    2. That was me. I don't know why I suddenly became anonymous. I'm not trying to hide, honestly.

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  17. I love big books and I cannot lie!

    Congratulations, can't wait to read it. I hope I won't be wondering about the parts that were cut :)

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    1. Ha, Gillian! Lots of saying the same thing two ways! Although I confess I will miss some of the directions...

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    2. As your husband knows, directions are an important part of the job at 9-1-1. We have to translate "he ran up the street" into "eastbound on Killingsworth." I definitely wouldn't have minded the directions.

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  18. I would most likely pick up and read anything you write, Deborah, regardless of length. But I think of the relationship between writer and editor as a collaboration to create the best book possible. If your editor, who has shepherded your other books into print, knows your style well enough to say 'cut,' then cut those words as you go! Can't wait to hold a copy in my hands!

    The worst case of 'cutting' I ever encountered was a friend who'd turned in his dissertation and was told to cut 50 pages. His wife acted as his editor and patiently went through the manuscript with him, page by page, line by line. He did tend to over-write, but the poor guy was exhausted by the time he'd finished. His wife won her angel wings that week!

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    1. This is my 11th book with my editor, Flora, and I do trust her to help me make the book better. She has a real talent for seeing how to keep the story moving. I've been so fortunate in my writing life to have had three wonderful editors.

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  19. I am so thrilled to hear that the book is written! Congratulations.

    I strongly agree with one of the Anonymous commenters above that I would read one of the books in this series without regard to the length.

    But in general, I do pay some attention to length, especially when I am choosing an audiobook. I usually listen to those during specific activities like driving or taking walks, and with an extremely long book I worry how long it will actually take me. But now that retirement is at hand (next week - squeee!) I look forward to sitting down with a print copy of a few books by beloved authors that I have postponed because of length.

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    1. Susan, have time to do what we like or what we want, like reading, are some joys of retirement. I wish you the best for this new period of life. Danielle

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    2. Susan, congratulations on your coming retirement! I have postponed some books because of length, too. The new Iona Wishaw has been sitting on my bedside table (top of the TBR) since it came out, but it's almost 600 pages and I just haven't had the attention span while trying to finish my own book.

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    3. Susan: congrats on your retirement coming up next week! I'll be marking my first full year away from full-time work as you enter your first. Yay!

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  20. Trumpets all right ! You’ve worked so hard, I can understand that writing the end was exhilarating.
    I’m sure your extractions won’t affect the final product. I’m looking forward to reading A Killing of Innocents and it is already pre-ordered.
    I don’t choose my books by length but when I like a book, the longer the better.
    Danielle

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  21. If I am looking at a book by an author who is new to me, I might be daunted by a huge page count. But if an extra-thick volume appears in a series that I already know and love, as is the case here, I am delighted. Congratulations on this milestone, and good luck with the trimming!

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    1. Yes, I'm thrilled when an author I love publishes a longer book. And thank you!

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  22. Because I do most of my reading on Kindle, I don't know how long they are in "real" life. No matter how I read, I think books need to be long enough to engage the reader and tell the story and not one word longer - that's what subsequent titles and sequels are for :).

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    1. It's a magic balance, isn't it? Just long enough!

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  23. I am so looking forward to reading this book, Deb. Congrats on typing those two lovely words and sorry you're having to cut so many others. However, this reader firmly believes that the book should only ever be as long as the story needs it to be and, as Kait says above, not one word longer. Cut everything extraneous and let the heart of the story show through in all its glory. I can't wait to read it!

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  24. I would happily read every word you have written and count me as one who likes the directions, which make me feel I am along for the ride. But I'm a little confused - I thought the sin was telling, not showing. Oh well. I do look forward to reading the new book, however long it turns out to be. Congratulations!

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    1. Judi, you are absolutely right. I meant "telling not showing". My brain is scramble from all the editing! I've corrected that, and thank you!

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  25. I am not daunted by long books. If a book is good, I'll read it regardless of length. However, I've noticed in the past few years that several "big name" mystery authors have written huge tomes that once I've finished, I've thought needed serious editing. Each book was at least 600 pages and could easily have lost at least 100-200 pages. My impression is that editors are unwilling to edit big names. It's ironic that in a world of Twitter and texting, so many books are overladen with unnecessary words.

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    1. I have often thought the same thing about big authors and no editing, but will not name names:-)

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    2. Susan Nelson-HolmdahlJune 24, 2022 at 1:10 PM

      I was reading a police procedural by an author whose books I always have enjoyed, even when they were very long. This book, however, at page 400 or so has lost me, too much detail and insufficient substance. I will finish it eventually, but will hesitate before reading subsequent books in the series.

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    3. I look forward to reading A Killing Of Innocents!

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  26. I happen to like your directions because I know most of the places you write about. And I love your descriptions too. If a book is good I savor its length. But I do go through when I’m editing and ask “ why is this scene here?” To every scene in the book. If I can’t give a good answer, it goes. Rhys

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  27. WOW, Deborah! Sound the trumpets -- first, congratulations on finishing the book. I absolutely cannot wait until it comes out. Second, cue the hip-hop -- I like big books and I cannot lie. However, I also believe in the value of really good editing. In fact, I love editing. Yeah, I know, I'm a nerd. But that's when the real book takes shape. There's nothing worse than a wandering book (to take a cue from your use of directions) and I sometimes wonder if editors loosen the reins on popular or well-established writers, giving them more latitude than they deserve. Sounds like you have a gem there in your editor. Good luck with your chopping!!

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    1. I do have a gem in my editor, she is fabulous! And I love "cue the hip-hop!"

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  28. Hank Phillippi RyanJune 24, 2022 at 9:54 AM

    There is nothing more exciting! This is fantastic! Hooray! You know me, I love to cut! And you can probably recognize me from Hallie’s post, too :-) Nothing would make me happier than having that many words and having to cut so many. You can do it! And I would be more likely to be wary of a short book than a long book. But again, how many books have we read where we think I all right already! Get on with it! I don’t need to know all this stuff!
    First, cut the repetition. Readers are smart. They just have to be told something once.
    Go Debs!

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    1. Hank, you are my shining example while I'm cutting my darlings:-)

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  29. Oh, congratulations! I have already pre-ordered this book and await it with anticipation.

    Since most of my reading is done electronically these days, I don't pay much attention to length when I buy the book. Sometimes, I'm surprised. "Oh, that was a novella!" Or, "Really? You've made several fortunes on your age-defining YA series, but I still think you should listen to your editor."

    I am more likely to buy a long book in paper if I'm about to get on an airplane. Other than that, it is the still the first paragraph, not the length, that determines whether I spend the money.

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    1. Thanks, c d! It actually bothers me that I can't tell how long a book is on Kindle. I'll pull it up on Amazon again to check the number of pages.

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  30. Congratulations!! An wonderful accomplishment.
    I am just a reader/listener, not a writer at all( except for nurses notes πŸ˜€) My answer to the too long question is that a good mystery with great character development and growth can never be too long. In other words I can’t get enough of being with your characters !! Keep it long.

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  31. The details, what the characters are wearing, eating, thinking, what they pass by as they go towards their destination make me a participant in the story. I enjoy that.

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    1. I love that detail in other writer's books, too.

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  32. Ordered and no good book can be long enough for me. I’m really looking forward to see Duncan and Gemma again, post-pandammit

    Just cancelled Bouchercon and Texas trip over Labor Day. Airline travel, especially over holiday weekend, isn’t worth the aggravation.

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  33. Congratulations on finishing the book…I can’t wait to read it! This is one of my all-time favorite series! If it’s an author I enjoy, length doesn’t matter — short or long. If it’s a new-to-me author, I usually pass on the longer books.

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    1. Thank you, Christi! I will buy long book by unfamiliar authors if it's something that really appeals to me, but I confess I'm more inclined to try new things on Kindle.

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  34. Congratulations on finishing the manuscript. Like Hank, you are showing us that author's creativity extends to cutting and rewriting. How nice that you approach the challenge in good spirits. But I like the amount of detail in your books - especially when you give us a feel for the place/time with poetic descriptions of weather, sounds, smells, etc. Oh those aromas of London neighborhoods! Keep them coming.

    I know some readers don't like introspection, but I love that in your books. We really get to know those characters - even the ones we may never see again. They come alive through their thoughts and memories.

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  35. Debs, those directions have to go! I remember reading a doorstop of a book by an author who shall not be names who also wrote a police procedural set in England. They were a big enough best seller to ignore any editorial input (and I know, because I spoke to their editor!) so they cut NONE of the "He exited the Metropolitan and crossed Chambers Walk to his car. He pulled into traffic and turned left on Wembley Place before switching lanes and cutting across into Fanswanth Close. etc, etc, etc."

    Hand to God, fully one fourth of the book was simply driving and walking directions. It was like reading a mystery set in the middle of an A to Z. Don't do it, Debs!

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    1. Julia, you cracked me up. I suspect I can identify your mystery author. I've always wondered about the editorial input!

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  36. I would read every word, every page you write. (Is that a song? Sounds familiar.) I just received a 912 page ARC from Simon & Schuster and I am totally sweating it. I'll just have a trusty notepad and take copious notes to help my review along. (Wait, what? I can dictate on my phone? )

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    1. 912 pages! eeek! You are a dedicated reviewer! And thank you so much! I hope you enjoy the new book.

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  37. Congrats on reaching the end!

    I'll confess, I don't have time to read long books. With my blog reviewing schedule, I need to read two books a week, which for me totals about 600 pages. If I take on something that is longer, I have to really plan it into my reading schedule. It's why rereading Harry Potter will not happen, as much as I'd love to do so.

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  38. It's the story that matters to me, not the length of the book. Cutting unnecessary details will tighten up the story and make it so much more unputdownable.

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  39. I prefer long long long books, especially by you! Looking forward to Gemma and Duncan and the kids and the dogs.

    We’ve cancelled our trip to Texas and Bouchercon. Can’t bear the idea of getting caught in East Bumf*** airport over a holiday weekend. I will miss all of you in Minneapolis

    Now I’m off to figure out how to fumigate the Supreme Court.

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    1. Ann is that you? The Supreme Court line is the clue I’m catching. Elisabeth

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    2. Ann? So sorry you're not coming to Texas. Wah! I never registered for B'con in Minneapolis. Crossing fingers for England in October and B'con in San Diego.

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    3. 😊 glad you tis you Ann. Elisabeth

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  40. Elisabeth here: Congratulations, Deborah, and good cutting times. The last time I worried about the length, aka weight, of a book was about 25 years ago when both work and seeing family involved lots of east-west travel. Those were the days before kindles and before reading on a plane gave me motion sickness. How much I had to lift and tote were major considerations. Pre-ordering today.

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I've bought Kindle versions of very long books I already own in hardcover:-)

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  41. Hallie here - I concur the happiest moment for me too is typing THE END the first time… it’s like finally having a wad of clay to work with. And I am a wimpy reader - I prefer a book that’s 350 pigs or less.

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    1. Spell correct strikes again - barbecue them pigs!

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  42. Debs, I am in love with this book's cover, with those gorgeous colors especially. And, of course, I can't wait to open it and read it. I admit that 550 pages is a little more than I like these days, but it sounds like you're well on the way to whittling that down. Long books weren't always a problem, as at one time I read five of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books to catch up in the series in a matter of a couple of months. But, I've never been a fast reader, and these days my reading seems to have had so many distractions and life impacting events affecting it. I guess my preferred book length presently is around 350 pages, not really more than 400. However, that doesn't mean pages dictate my reading, especially if it's a favorite author. Oh, and I don't read much science fiction or fantasy, but I do agree that there's an expectation for those books being longer books.

    And, as for your directions, Debs. I can only say that whatever you always end up with makes me feel like I'm in the place. It's one of the things I love most about your books, that you so effectively put me in a place I've never been before. As a lover of maps in books, those are always a treat for me, too.

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  43. I got caught by the "Anonymous" bug. The above comments are from me, Kathy Reel. I'm also posting it again here

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  44. I may never get this right. I'm posting a third time under my name, as I didn't catch the "Anonymous" tag the first time and forgot to add the content the second time. Geesh.

    Debs, I am in love with this book's cover, with those gorgeous colors especially. And, of course, I can't wait to open it and read it. I admit that 550 pages is a little more than I like these days, but it sounds like you're well on the way to whittling that down. Long books weren't always a problem, as at one time I read five of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books to catch up in the series in a matter of a couple of months. But, I've never been a fast reader, and these days my reading seems to have had so many distractions and life impacting events affecting it. I guess my preferred book length presently is around 350 pages, not really more than 400. However, that doesn't mean pages dictate my reading, especially if it's a favorite author. Oh, and I don't read much science fiction or fantasy, but I do agree that there's an expectation for those books being longer books.

    And, as for your directions, Debs. I can only say that whatever you always end up with makes me feel like I'm in the place. It's one of the things I love most about your books, that you so effectively put me in a place I've never been before. As a lover of maps in books, those are always a treat for me, too.

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    1. Kathy, I'd have know it was you even as "anonymous!" I'm so glad you like the cover. We had much drama over it, but I was thrilled with the final decision and I can't wait to see it in hardcover. And actually visiting the Bloomsbury Tavern is on my list for the next trip to London!

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    2. Debs, that made me happy that you recognized me.

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  45. I can hardly wait to read ‘ A KILLING OF INNOCENTS ‘ as I have waited with such anticipation for it’s release ! I really enjoy ‘ big thick books’ and your’s especially. I love all the details and your family of characters are so well thought out. I follow and savor each plot and wonder if you frame your maps- they are a ‘ thing of beauty and intrigue!’ I am sorry that you are having to edit so much- I’m sure that it’s a bittersweet labor of love to have to watch that much fall by the wayside. Thank you again Debs for sharing your brilliant gift with us !

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    1. I have framed some of the maps. And I'm already working with Laura on this one, which I'll talk about next time my What We're Writing week rolls around. So glad you enjoy the books and the maps!

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  46. I have read all of your books and am looking forward to reading the new book!

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  47. The longest I typically go with books is somewhere within the 400 page range. Once we cross over from 499 to 500, I’m intimidated unless it is one I am desperate to read. I’ve also noticed that this varies by format; if it’s a paperback and on the thicker side, ok, I’ll take a look. If it’s a hardcover? I run.

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    1. Over 500 pages for a mystery gives me pause, too. But if it's an author I really like, I'll dig in.

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  48. Oh, this is such good news for those of us who adore your books! Preordering! I'm an over writer, too. I just do what Hank said--"take out everything that isn't the book."

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  49. I've been waiting and waiting. I even delayed reading the previous book until this year so there wouldn't be such a big gap between episodes. If you want to drop ship to me now, i'll be happy to read the longer version while I take the train to Oregon tomorrow.

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  50. Has your editor met your readers?!? I LOVE your directions and dream of going to London some day with your books in hand and walking in the footsteps of Gemma and/or Kincaid. When you first mentioned the length of the book, I was SO excited! “Yay!” I thought. “I’ll be able to wallow longer than usual!” So it’s a letdown to know you’re cutting pages. I’d pay the postage to get a glimpse of the literary “out takes.” 😊

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  51. The more Duncan and Gemma, plus their family and friends, the better!

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  52. A day late commenting, Debs--just couldn't get to a computer yesterday because we're on vacation and on the road. But I wanted to say that I would read a 126,000-word book by you with delight. That doesn't even seem very long to me. But I suppose your editor knows what she's talking about. I HATE cutting, but, since every time I cut, my MS is the better for it, I grit my teeth and do my best. Also wanted to add that, thanks to Kindle, I definitely read longer books, and I like listening to very long audiobooks. The longest book I read recently and LOVED was Maggie Shipstead's "Great Circle," which is over 600 pages.

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  53. Ion not bothered by the length of a book as long as I’m aware of the author’s writing. I remember going through Dorothy Dunnett’s books non-stop because her prose was so luminous. Among more contemporary writers, your books stand out and I would happily read your newest in its present, uncut form. I like details!

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