Those of you who read this blog regularly or even semi-regularly may have realized that I have a problem.
A word count problem.
I tend to get very excited about those ideas I select as writing topics. Once I’ve settled on a subject, it is my pattern to get carried away beyond all editorial reason. I’m overcome by an impulse to explore every facet of such ideas to their fullest, driven to probe every nook, blow dust out of every corner. I crave the confidence of knowing I’ve thoroughly and clearly communicated with my reader, leaving no conceptual stone unturned.
Unfortunately, this same tendency is the one that saw me submitting 25 page short stories in college, when the assignment called for 10 pages. Writing 112,000 word young adult novels when most novels in that genre land between 55-90,000 words. Penning 1400 word–1400 words!–blog posts, when the medium is one intended for snack-sized reads and snippet-like stories.
Because I am a word-aholic, and thus struggle with the type of self-editing that calls for the culling of material, and the elimination of extraneous details.
I have a word count problem.
But I have faith that I’m not yet a lost cause. In the last few months I’ve been the recipient of a steady stream of Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs). These are early prints of a novel meant to be read by those in the book industry–bloggers, reviewers, librarians, book-sellers, etc.–prior to the book’s official publication and marketing, for the purpose of creating buzz around the book before its debut. I feel honored to have the opportunity to read books prior to their publication date and thus share my thoughts on the works ahead of time, hopefully facilitating the union of the right books with the right readers… before the latter makes a commitment via purchase.
Also, who doesn’t like receiving free books? You’d have to be a dumb-dumb to say no to that perk.
But because I have in backlog so many of these ARCs, all of which I want to make an effort to attend to, I’ve set myself a challenge: To review each one in 600 words or fewer. For many other writers, this undertaking wouldn’t really rate the title of “challenge”; after all, 600 words isn’t exactly a minuscule amount. But for Lauren M. Peltier of the 1000-word blog average, this is a challenge of the highest order. Such a project promises dual benefits: no.1, an opportunity to practice self-censorship; and no.2, an increased likelihood that each of the ARCs in my queue will actually see a review.
So coming to a blog near you (i.e., this one): Bite-Sized Book Reviews.
Only time will tell if I’m up for the challenge. Given that this post is a mere 461 words, there may be hope for me yet.