Which Books/Websites?

by Uchiha Sasuke

Hi, I have reached the editing stage for my 95,000 word novel.

This is my first time finishing a novel
I'm only thirteen, but I want to try querying to agents. I've heard that The Writer's Market is a must have, so I searched it up. I found out that there is a book, and a website, and you have subscribe to the website to access it.

Which one would be more useful?

Also, I found a book called Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino. If I am already getting Writer's Market (either online or book) should I also get this book? I do not know if I would need it because the Writers Market is supposed to have listings of agents

Answer: First of all... Congratulations!

Finishing a draft of a novel is a major accomplishment at any age. It takes a lot of effort, time, and discipline, as I expect you have discovered, so I hope you feel quite proud of yourself.

Writer's Market was the standard reference on publishers for many decades but, as you can imagine, it has been somewhat eclipsed by a number of free, online sources.

The difference between the Writer's Market book and the website is that the book is issued once a year, whereas the site should be updated more frequently. Both are great sources of information, but a subscription is more useful for short story writers (who presumably start submitting new stories each month or so).

Here are some free alternatives if you want to save some money...

Preditors & Editors (http://pred-ed.com): This site not only lists agents and publishers, but also tells you which ones are not reputable and should be avoided. Before you submit your work to anyone, check them out on this site.

Publishers Marketplace (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com): Another great source of information on publishers and agents.

Agent Query (http://www.agentquery.com): In addition to listing agents, this site provides you with all the information you need about how to query and submit your work.

You may find that, after checking out these sites, you don't need to buy anything else.

Also, you may want to look at Writer Beware (http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/alerts), a site which alerts writers to the various scams that exist in the publishing world. Sadly, they are numerous, and you don't want to be taken advantage of.

Best of luck.

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Average Sentence Length
by: Vijay K Kerji

Hi, Glen,
I Thankyou again for your valuable time spent in helping writers.

I have the following questions:
1. What should be the average sentence length in fiction? No doubt we should vary the sentence length to keep the reader's interest. But when I checked it for a couple of my chapters, it is around 9.7, and the variety around 5. What kind of sentences the readers like most(in terms of length)?

2. My second question is, how long should a dialogue in a scene be? In my work, I wrote for about 400-500 words, including POV thoughts and character actions. Should we elongate the conversations to have a pleasant effect on the reader or just concentrate on moving the plot? Also, please tell us about how much POV character thoughts one can write before his dialogue. Would it be okay if it is more than two sentences?

Again, Thank You for your time,


Let go, Vijay. Trust your feelings
by: Glen

Average sentence length usually only matters if you're writing for children or government. And even then, it's not a reliable measure of story's effectiveness. There's no fixed length for dialogue either.

My concern is that, if you're worrying about numbers and formulae, you're not putting your attention where it ought to be, which is on how the story moves you emotionally.

Good dialogue keeps one's attention riveted, regardless of length. It fascinates the reader for a variety of reasons (subtext, relationship, plot twist, suspense, wit, etc.). Any dialogue that seems dull is too long.

I will give you one tip regarding sentence length. Read your work out loud. If you find you run short of breath, your sentence is too long. If it feels too staccato, perhaps combine some short sentences into longer ones. Good writing should feel comfortable when spoken.

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