This post is about 350 words.
It’s been about three weeks since my last writing update, where I mentioned that I’d uploaded the first two chapters to this website. Since then, I’ve finished up* the next three, though I’m not sharing them yet.
*As always, when I say, “finished up”, there’s a big disclaimer about reserving the right to go back and tweak them as needed. Or to change things based on revisions to later chapters. Or to fix things that have woken me in the middle of the night. Or when I realize I’m having the same delusion as Ralphie in A Christmas Story.
OK, so rambling aside, I’m satisfied that FIVE chapters are ready for reading. They have cohesion and flow, and each considers the length of the ones before (i.e. I don’t have a 3,000-word chapter followed by one that’s 10,000 words). They have transition and connection to each other, so they are no longer five separate pieces. They feel like the first act of a three-act story. And that’s about 20% of the book completed, which feels pretty good. But….
I’m experiencing something during this second draft process that I’d learned long ago: expanding sections is way easier than shrinking them. Duh. My word count has increased 10,000 words, meaning my manuscript is about 20,000 words longer than my goal. As I’ve mentioned on Twitter (here, here, here), the count has been fluctuating up and down, and while I’ve removed something in the neighborhood of 6,000 words, I’m still slowly increasing the total.
Unfortunately, that means it’s machete time. Huge sections have to go.
I’ll miss them (or maybe I won’t), but that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. One large section I removed earlier has already found a better, more appropriate place in a future book. It’s likely others will, too. The plan for the next few weeks before Christmas is to remove 10,000 words.
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© Michael Wallevand, December 2016