My first novel has topped out at nearly 150,000 words! Yikes, an editor’s nightmare. Especially considering that my target audience is middle graders ages 12 – 15. Can they even sit still that long? So, my editor has very gently suggested that I reduce my manuscript by about 1/3. That’s like telling me I need to cut one of my childrens’ legs off! Still, if I thought it would save his life, I’d do it. Apparently, that’s the only thing that will save the life of my floundering manuscript.
I probably would have been saved much anguish if I’d stuck to the plot outline I’d initially created. Sometimes novels just take on lives of their own though. I probably would have been better off if I’d followed a diet with each of my children, also. Still, sometimes things happen that we don’t decide to control completely and it works out for the best. I’ve been inspired by my size 16 pants to take up aerobics. My manuscript will also benefit from being similarly tightened and toned. I can’t complain much about the work that I’ve done, even though much of it must now be considered “practice” novel writing.
So, taking a break from the months of writing, I revisited some of my favorite fantasy stories. They all worked within 200 pages, so I can make mine work as well. I sat down and wrote out a new outline, tightening up the action pieces, cutting out the frivolous descriptions and backstory and re-arranged everything so it had a good, cohesive flow. I’m pretty proud of my work…it’s going to be fantastic. A little discipline goes a long way. I’m not sure if the editor will approve of the changes I’ve made, but I know not to rewrite the story until I’ve run them past her. Still, even though it means a lot of rewriting and some pain, not unlike birthing a child, the reward will be tremendous. That and with the rest of my spare time, I’ve managed to run 8 miles, bike 17 and jump on a trampoline with my youngest boys for 4 hours this week. Still a size 16, but I didn’t have to hold my breath to button my trousers today!