Whew. I’ve cut a little over 4,350 words from my Korean superheroes story. Since I started out with 20,500, that’s roughly 20% of the text cut. And yes, the text is bleeding a little, even though I’ve sewn up the wounds carefully, meticulously.
I wasn’t as merciless as some of my friends suggested. One friend suggested I should do the story in 10,000 words or less, but that would have been too drastic. I’m finding I tend to overwrite my supposedly final drafts of things by about 20%, so I’m happy I managed to cut that much from it without losing anything integral to the story.
Even just to get down to 20,500 words, I’d cut major characters whom I’d enjoyed, and in this version, I’ve cut a couple more characters I very much liked: Ddonggae (“Mongrel”), a villainous dog-headed sidekick whom I would have preferred to expand on (and will keep around for some later story in the same world); Tengu, a beet-red Japanese good-guy flying hero who went from being a major character to having a cameo to being completely removed; Big Myoung, who is now a very much-reduced minor presence in the story; and a pack of renegade Thai Buddhist monk supervillains in a flying tuk-tuk who are gone, gone, gone except for a brief cameo in the opening battle scene.
At just over 16,150 words, the story is still too long for most markets, but there’s little I can do about the scarcity of markets. The story seems now to be its natural length, without much fat, as far as I’m concerned. So except to fine tune it a little more, and reconsider it when I’ve run out of markets to which I can submit it, I think it’s pretty much in form now. As it’s a political allegory about politics, and politics that are obviously going to be on the American radar for a while, I suppose I could also consider a mainstream audience, perhaps… which means more potential markets out there, I suppose. Anyone know any good mainstream markets publishing such things? (I’ll try the familiar SF markets first, but would like to have other options on hand if need be.)
I’m also thinking of tracking down a guy I met sometime last year, who works for a Korean comic book company. He said that if I had any ideas, I should contact him, but I wonder whether he had anything like this in mind. A comedic superhero allegory on Korean politics could fly under the radar, or on the other hand, it could offend a lot of people. I’m not sure which is likelier. But I think I’ll try to sell the story first, before I try get it turned into a Korean-language comic book.
Anyway — the story still needs a thorough final proofread, but I am now considering it basically “done”. Whew!
Next? I think… yes… it’s time for me to finally polish “Lester Young and the Jupiter’s Moon’s Blues.” It won’t be a significant rewrite, mind… more some tidying, some fine-tuning, a few loose ends being knotted a little tighter, then some feedback from whoever’s willing, and then the long, arduous wait to see who will buy it. But I think I’ll take a little hiatus first, read a couple of books. I just got Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel (not the workbook, which is listed as out of print here, but the main book itself) and a couple of issues of F&SF about which I’ve heard good things… so catching up a little on those, and finishing off John Strausbaugh’s compelling history of blackface performance Black Like You, will probably precede the edit job on that story.
Let me say it again: whew!