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Work In Progress Wednesday 6/3/09

I am still working steadily on my NaNo novel.  I'm finding myself quite pleased with it.  There's just one problem.  It's not going to be long enough.  (*gnashes teeth*) 

Can I just tell you what a strange reversal this is for me?  For years I have written ridiculously long novels.  Epic sagas, even.  Hundreds of thousands of words.  I've got one I've been struggling with for quite some time now, trying to get it down to 100K.  It's still at 130K, and I can't figure out where else to cut.

And then all of a sudden, two novels are too short?  Whassupwiththat?

Annie finished her crit of my novel A Touch of Madness.  She did a stream-of-consciousness type of crit, giving me all her reactions.  It was so totally helpful, and kind of funny sometimes, too!  But I've concluded something I already suspected after I finished.

There is a way to save ToM, a way to make it long enough.  And that is to switch it from first person into third person.

Ugh.  I am so tired of this novel.  I feel like I owe it to my wonderful crit-mates to do what needs to be done, though, and see about sending it out.  They've helped me so much with this thing over the last year, I don't feel right about hurling the thing out the window the way I'd like to.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to agonize about my NaNo novel being too short.  I didn't worry a whole lot about it when I wrote it, because I thought it might just end up being a writing exercise, but I really, really like the story.  So now I'm praying that after I make it as long as I can manage, my fantabulous crit-mates will be able to help me again. 

What do other people do when their stories aren't long enough?  How do you find more story without adding fluff, or essentially starting a whole second story?  Or does this only happen to me?

My agent asked me to put together a schedule for finishing up the remaining chapters for my book.  There are 12 chapters total.  Five are complete, 2 are in progress, and 5 still need to be written.  I have until October 1, 2009. That's when everything is due to the publisher.

So my goal is to finish 3 chapters by the beginning of next month, two chapters the following month, and two chapters the month after that.  That leaves me some time at the end in case something happens to mess up the schedule, and lets me put together the table of contents, index, and so forth.

The chapters I have yet to do are a couple of chapters on psychological disorders, one on physical and biological interventions (stuff like medications, electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, that kind of thing), and one on the psychology of villains.

It's going to be full speed ahead for the nonfiction, so I hope the words flow!


  1. Anonymous said...
    OOhh...psychology of villians, sweet!!! That will be a great chapter. Good luck with everything - and I have NO DOUBT you'll figure out the whole too short thing.
    mand said...
    When a story isn't long enough? I find a different market.

    Pithy, but not meant as a put-down. Even for the really difficult lengths such as 40-60,000 words, there are places.

    And another brief idea: make it even shorter, and pretend it was a really meaty short story all along!

    Hth. 80)
    Mary Lindsey / Marissa Clarke said...
    I agree completely with Annie's suggestion. 3rd person for ToM would make it a richer book emotionally--and honestly, a more interesting read because of the complexity of the characters.

    It is such a great story. Chucking it is not an option. :)
    Annie Louden said...
    Yeah, don't toss it! Although, you have done far more revisions on this than I've done for everything, so I can't even imagine the desire to just let it go. Maybe wait a few years.
    I'd be happy to read your NaNo novel. Maybe I will figure out where it could be longer.
    Also, did you get my email that I can't meet this Sunday?
    Elana Johnson said...
    I wish I had the my-novel-is-too-short problem. I haven't had that yet, but I write YA, so it's okay to have a short novel. You'll figure out what to do with ToM.

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