THE CORSET OF WORD COUNT
In my heart of hearts, I’d like to self-publish my work. I don’t mean wrangling with Amazon or some other self-publishing outfit. I’d like to own a printing press and I’d like to control my distribution. That’s all another way of saying I want the business of publishing to get out of my way and let me write.
I don’t require much.
What I’d like most is to be allowed to compose without being saddled with a word count. Let my story be judged on its merit not whether it is too long or too short for publication. Was there ever a more ridiculous standard for acceptance or rejection than word count? Did Shakespeare say to himself, “I shall write 32,241 words in “Hamlet” and no more?” And what about “A Tale of Two Cities?” Did Dickens ruminate, “If I write a novel of 189,188 words it will be perfect?”
When I sit down to write, I don’t think about length. The story unfolds according to its dictates not according to the arbitrary demands of a publisher I’ve never met. And I am sick of threats being told by these strangers that should I breach the publisher’s ideal, my story will be deleted, unread. Can anyone truly imagine deleting “Paradise Lost” because of word count?
No, no, no! I am not Shakespeare or Dickens or John Milton, but I won’t be dictated to. A story is a story is a story! Does anyone know where I can get a cheap printing press?