Well, I knew it was coming, and now it’s finally happened. There I was, within striking distance of the 50,000 word goalposts (the dividing line between a NOVELETTE and a NOVEL) – in fact, this posting was supposed to trumpet that milestone. Instead, I find that Swordsmaster was going off the rails and I have to back up. 4,181 words wasted.
I wonder – were they wasted? I have such a reluctance to throw away words once I’ve set them down; it’s hard not to think of it as a waste. I rarely throw anything away when I’m writing short fiction, and HECK – I’m about to discard more words from Swordsmaster than are in most of my stories. How can I throw that away.
“Hang on a minute, Bill; who do you think you are – Heinlein? Sure, maybe he could write a story without rewriting and send out the rough draft to be published, but you? Do you really think that everything you put down is perfect? Or even necessary?”
No, of course I don’t. I’ve been saying for months that I was dreading the number of rewrites that were in store on this novel, and here comes one.
This time around I think what happened is I got cocky – I already knew where the story needed to wind up, and I thought, heck, I’m almost three quarters of the way through on my way to where I’m trying to finish the story, why on earth would I need to outline anymore?
BECAUSE when I don’t outline and set up some guideposts, the story starts losing focus and wanders off the path and into the woods like the Thorin’s party in Mirkwood (and despite similar warnings.) This happened with Swordsmaster once before – the first time I started writing it some… tens of years ago. That time, a character who was designed to die became too big a part of the tale, and I didn’t want to backtrack and fix what he had done to the story’s direction (that’s right – I had nothing to do with it), so I gave up.
Well I’m not giving up – not this time
I need to look at those 4181 words not as a waste, but as an exercise in which I was able to explore my characters a little more. AND as a reminder to keep planning ahead.
My weekly coupons have run through all my non 99-cent stories, so it’s time to switch to the collections. This week’s coupon is for Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND (my very first collection, containing “Passed Life”, “A Dish Best Served”, “Business is Business”, “B.I.T.”, “Quiet!”, and “Through Her Eyes”) – here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/178302?ref=NoTimeToThink
Use coupon code KY65W to save 80% off the list price at check out on Smashwords (that’s right – all six stories for only $1.00!) The coupon is good through October 12th. Enjoy!