Smuginicity

9 Aug

Yes, that is a word now. It is the state of being smug. I am currently in residence there. For how long, though…I don’t want to wager a guess. Probably by morning something will have knocked me off my high horse. Count on it.

So why am I feeling smug? Because I managed to cut out 29% of a manuscript to make it fit within a publisher’s guidelines for submission. I had a 1,550-word manuscript about Stephen F. Austin, the Father of Texas thankyouverymuch, that I’ve submitted to a couple of other publishers. I got to Pelican Publishing’s website yesterday and discovered that they consider easy reader books to be 1,100 words or less. I did the math. That’s 29% shorter than my oh-so-short book.

I dreaded the editing. I agonized over what to put in the book to begin with. How was I supposed to cut out almost a third of that? I put it off all day long. I found other things to do. Not hard around here. In fact, we have a birthday party on Friday to prepare for. Not just any party – we’re taking our 4 kids plus 5 3rd grade girls plus 1 5th grade boy (to keep our 5th grade boy entertained) bowling. Fun times. Not just bowling, mind you. My lovely daughter got the idea from an American Girl magazine. Turns out you need several things to make a bowling party cool:

  • adhesive-backed felt cut into bowling balls, complete with rhinestone stickers for the finger holes, to put on the back of each girl’s shirt
  • a zebra-striped monogram to iron on to the front of each girl’s shirt (I cut these curly-cue font monograms out sans exacto knife
  • buttons and fancy paper shaped into rosettes to be made into awards such as “most strikes” or “best bowling face” to be given out at the party
  • foam picture frames to be signed in gel pen by each girl for each girl

I think this is all we did. I have a list of things to take to the bowling alley. We even made a little “K” for the baby’s onesie. After we did all this prep, I decided to Google “cake balls.” Basically, cake balls are crumbled up cake mixed with tons of icing, shaped into balls, and dipped in chocolate. We’re going to make black cake balls. But I had to look at all the pretty cake ball pictures out there.

I guarantee ours won’t look like this.

Did I mention that I also spent about 45 minutes outside filling up a 5-gallon bucket with weeds from my front yard? I also called my insurance company about a claim. And I went to the grocery store. I’m treasurer for a local chapter of a national group, so I also did the July financial report.

All because I was afraid of trying to find 450 to cut out of my book.

Kids all in bed. Dinner put away. I figured I was in for a good stretch of time working on this puppy.

8:15 – 9:00 – down to 1215 words.

9:00 – 9:40 – down to 1067 words. The only reason it took me forty minutes the second time through was because I had to reformat the manuscript, so there was technical editing, too.

Now I’m just sitting here, mentally patting myself on the back for cutting out the extra 33 words. This manuscript is out the door tomorrow and I’m on to other projects.

Like cake balls.

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