Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The End! The Beginning! And The Story Knows How Long It Should Be.

I recently sent off the FINAL final draft of SHADOW POINT to the production department at the publisher after working with the editor to make several improvements. Which got me to thinking about the first time I thought I’d finished the book. (ha!) It was October 2008 and after two and a half years, I had finally finished the story. That version came in around 66,000 words.

I then did a little research on the publishing industry and decided that the manuscript should be more like 80,000 words. Hmmph. How to make that math happen, when I’d already finished the story, beginning, middle and end? Well, it wasn’t easy, but I added a scene here, a new character there, threw in a couple more adjectives and voila, 80,000 words.

More tinkering continued (I’m an inveterate tinkerer when it comes to writing) as I searched for a publisher, but the word count stayed around 80,000 words.

Time passed.

In December 2009, I submitted SHADOW POINT to Bella Books. The editing process was complete in August 2010 and I think (I think!) I’m really, really done now. Yahoo!

It was great, but also a bit strange, to revisit the manuscript I had (kinda sorta pretty much) finished back in 2008. Almost two years ago! My mind has been so enmeshed in the novel I’m currently writing that it was a challenge to step out of that world and back into SHADOW POINT.

So now I can get back to the tiny Midwestern town of Romeo Falls, the setting for my new book, ROMEO FAILS. No ghosts in this one, but I’m pretty sure a storm - not to mention romance - is brewing out there on the lone prairie... I’m at about the 43,000 word mark on this one, for those of you keeping score at home.


But who cares about word count anyhow? I think the story knows how long it should be. SHADOW POINT felt good at 80K, I'm shooting for 60Kish on ROMEO FAILS, and the first novel I started (but the second I finished) came in at 116K. I know it's probably a little top heavy, but I love that dang book so much I can't bring myself to pare it down yet. Maybe I'll work on losing another ten pounds myself, then work on revising the hefty HEAVENLY MOVES. (it's a mystery set in 1982 in a Northern California beach town curiously similar to Santa Cruz) And maybe I'll decide that its slower pace and broader canvas really do deserve all 116,000 of those palabras. After all, the story knows how long it should be, right? Right.

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