Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Making all the little pieces add up

After reviewing the requirements for two similar imprints with the publisher of choice for the manuscript I'll be pitching, I decided the story really needed to be submitted to Imprint B rather than Imprint A. So what did that mean for my manuscript? It meant I needed to add 5K words to a finished 55K story.

Where was I going to add 5K? Extra scenes? More subplot? Longer descriptions?

It wasn't any one thing. It was going through every chapter (24 of them) and adding 208.33 words to each. Some got a little more added and some got a lot less. In some places I was able to add a little more dialogue, others needed a little more internal thought, a few cried out for some more descriptions. And when I got to the end, I still needed another 692 words, so back through I went, challenging myself to add a few words to every page.

What has it done for my story?

I tend to be a short writer, especially with this story. I tried a new method to write this one. I had it completely outlined in detail before I started writing, which I've found isn't a good strategy for me. Because I then find myself rushing to get from point A to point B and on to C without taking time to enjoy the journey. My scenes were short and abrupt. I learned through the Winter NaNo Challenge how the process of writing without a detailed outline really helped me take my time with my characters.

Challenging myself to add nearly 10% more words gave me the opportunity to revisit each scene and fully flesh out the story and the characters' development. Plus revising the story with fresh eyes after it had been on the shelf for several months, showed me scenes where the hero was acting just a little bit out of character. I got him all straightened out.

So my story is now 60K and ready to be pitched on Saturday to my future (hopefully) agent.

Wish me luck!

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