Goodness gracious. It has been FOREVER since my last update, and there is a good reason for it! I have been spending just about every spare moment working on Book 2 of the Tales from Adia series, all while orchestrating a return to the dorms during a global pandemic (my “don’t quit your day job” is at a university just down the street). #nobigdeal
There is good news and bad news…
Good news: About a month ago I declared my triumph over this manuscript. The word count was right where I wanted it, and I received positive feedback from a few beta readers.
Bad news: I took an ax to it, and now it’s too short.
“Every story and novel is collapsible to some degree. If you can’t get out ten per cent of it while retaining the basic story and flavor, you’re not trying very hard. The effect of judicious cutting is immediate and often amazing.”Stephen King, “On Writing”
This happened with Book 1 around this point in the project. I naturally veer toward too much fluff, and this fluff usually does nothing to enhance the story or move the plot forward.
I’ve been reading Stephen King’s “On Writing,” and I was happy to learn that I’m in good company. For most of his career he has followed the “formula” that your second draft should be 10% shorter than your first draft. That’s exactly where I’m at with my current manuscript. I gutted approximately 10% out of my word count.
The problem is that my book is way shorter than King’s! It’s now too short by industry standards.
So what’s a girl to do? I’m not adding the fluff back in just to pad the word count. What I need to do is look for a few places to add new scenes that give the reader insight and push the story forward. My beta readers gave me some good ideas about what they wish they knew more about, so I’ll start there.
I want this story DONE and in my publisher’s hands without any more dilly dallying from me. So, I’m giving myself a strict deadline, and YOU are my accountability. In two weeks, I will come back and let you know that it is done and sent to the publishing house for review. If you don’t hear from me in two weeks, send help and a writer’s block exorcist.
In other news, I hit a big milestone at the end of August, and I can’t believe I didn’t post here to celebrate. This website started as a blog following my cancer journey (Check out the very beginning here). A little over a month ago, I graduated from patient status at the cancer center! My doctors don’t use the term “cancer free” (at least for my type of cancer), but they do consider me to be very low risk now that I hit FIVE YEARS since diagnosis. That is CRAZY. I can’t believe it’s been five years! And I can’t believe it has become such a non-issue in my life that I didn’t even post about it here! I think that’s a win…
Most of my life is much less dramatic than beating cancer, serving on a pandemic task force, and publishing a book. The everyday rhythms and colors of fall are my favorite and help me breathe after a crazy spring and summer. Enjoy these scenes from the past month!
See you in two weeks, friends!