I Dismembered My Novel

It’s a graphic truth, but I just ripped apart my novel. Not that little pruning one does when trying to save that golden prose or avoid the hard truth about scenes that don’t work. No, I’m talking about cutting off its arms and legs, slitting its belly and letting the guts drop out.

The draft was at about 60k and I just cut it back to 37k. Ouch. Big time, ouch.

Why on earth did I do this? Well, I discovered having just one POV character throughout a whole book was limiting. There were all sorts of scenes I wanted the reader to see that the main character just couldn’t be there to witness. So now, one of the supporting character is a POV character, the action is split between them, and I’m finding all new opportunities to slip in fun scenes that would have never made it in the book in its original incarnation. Like a moment where a woman ponders the finer art of burning down a building. And another where my main character witnesses a bizarre ritual complete with glow-y symbols, made-up chants, and puppetmastery.

Now, I’m just wondering how you query a book with two main characters? Pick one? Eek! I have research to do eventually. But for now, I must write and flesh out this story that I’ve been working on entirely too long.

Hey, maybe I can finish it, revise it, and start querying before the end of the year? Is that asking too much?

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A Novel Break and Hitting the Halfway Point

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend. Mine was spent hanging out with family, eating copious amounts of food, and watching people get drunk. It’s hilarious until it’s awkward.

I’m finally getting back into my novel WIP and it’s starting to fly. I’ve hit the middle–or what I wanted to be the middle–at 40k. I had to reread everything I wrote so far to get back in writing mode and to reacquaint myself with the style and tone. There are many, many rough spots, so I jotted down some notes for future reference. Revision Me will be displeased, but Draft Me is happy because under all the flaws and incoherent thoughts and poor transitions, there’s a real bonafide story in there.

Though I did stop working on the WIP at about the halfway point six months ago, it’s sort of energizing now because it’s all downhill from here. The draft is halfway done already. And the upcoming chapters are some of the most exciting. In fact, the scene I’m working on right now is a major part of the inspiration for this novel. I know every day won’t be as great as this in terms of enthusiasm towards new words, but I’m sure going to embrace them when they come.

My only concern is that my novel will be too short. If it keeps up at the current pace, it might only be about 60k, which is a bit too short for sci-fi. But who knows, maybe another subplot will present itself. I know of a few spots in the beginning of the novel that need bulking up, so maybe I’m worried about nothing.

What I’m curious about is how you all work with word counts? I know each genre has specific requirements. Is it instinctive finding the right length for your story or do you have to perform much fiddling to get it expanded or whittled down to just the right word count?

NaNoWriMo, Weirdness, and Earrings

I want to write a weird book.

There, I said it. I have plenty of irons in the fire already, but I have this irresistible urge to write a completely unconventional novel filled with all that is strange and wonderful. I’ve been letting go of my inner censor on my short fiction, but very much stick to convention when it comes to novel-length works. I can’t understand why I keep doing this, but it’s ingrained in my brain for some reason.

And that got me thinking. There’s finally a bit of chill in the air as fall descends upon us and that can only mean one thing: NaNoWriMo! I participated three years ago, and I plan on participating again this year. And this time, I’m going weird.

And this time, I’m going to try to use all of the wonderful things I’ve learned this past year about short stories and how to pour myself into them. This time, I want to write a novel I care about. Thus far, I’ve yet to accomplish that feat.

No clues on characters or plot just yet, but I’ll keep it in ┬áthe back of my mind as I rework a few old short stories throughout October. I’m also thinking about starting a Tumblr account to log my NaNoWriMo efforts specifically. What do you all think? And perhaps I’ll just post recaps or summaries of the journey here? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

On a final note, as I construct my steampunk-o-riffic costume for Halloween, I promised I’d keep you up to date on my purchases and findings. The pic at the top is of my earrings. Got them on Etsy from a very talented seller. Pretty cool, eh?