Whew! My story, “A Jagged Line,” began as a short story with another title and has grown to almost novella proportions. When I hit the 12,000-word mark I knew I was spinning a tale much larger than I’d planned. At 15,000, as I delved into the end-scene, it was really bugging the heck outta me. It took a while just to tackle that last climactic bit. I kept fixating on the word count. At that length, I knew I was limiting my options for submitting and, yes, that concerned me. Ultimately, however, I took a deep breath and did what was most important: FINISHED IT. I ambushed my favorite place to write (“Study Room A” at my local library), planted my BIC (“butt-in-chair”)*, and wrote. Then wrote some more. I never looked down to where Word displays the count. I just chugged my Sugar Free RockStar and finished that bad boy.
In the past two weeks, “A Jagged Line” weathered three editorial stages: a round of beta reading (thanks to John, Ken, and e-Wolfe!), a round of revision for tightening, and a red-pen-read-aloud just yesterday. It sits at the 16,225-word mark as of this afternoon, after I cut almost 800 words. All that’s left now, I think, is a professional edit, since I’m worried about a bunch of extraneous info still being in there because it’s based on a setting that has undergone intense worldbuilding for many years. But once through that, it’s off to submissions.
In the meantime, I’ve got more story ideas… or maybe I’m going to return to one of my other Works In Progress, I can’t decide yet. Either way I go, I’m gonna try to be less of a dang pantser! Gotta convince myself: outlines are our friends. And they’re not chiseled in stone, after all. It’s just that the “seat-of-my-pants” is pretty much my M.O. when it comes to writing… and to life, for that matter.
So, guess I’ll be seeing ya soon; although, I do have one last thing to post that’s completely unrelated:
Dear Hollywood Film Makers:
Please, please, please, for the love of God please, stop giving work to Katherine Heigl.
The Rest of the World
BIC (butt-in-chair): The mantra of the Magical Words writers’ group. Subscribing and reading their posts is likely the kick in the pants I needed to get back to some serious writing of late.