Monday, August 7, 2017

Roadblocks and Detours

Debra is facing a dilemma.

Believe it or not, this is the last week of summer vacation for me. I'm really trying to figure out where the time went. I mean, wasn't it just June for Pete's sake? I feel like I've had a fairly successful writing summer in that I made quite a bit of progress on my WIP and I've been trying to get myself out there more by making regular use of my Twitter account, visiting other blogs, and even put my Fourth of July book on sale for the month.

However, as everyone knows, the writing road is not always a straight one. It's often filled with roadblocks and detours. And I had plenty of those this summer, too.

I started really getting serious about my writing in the middle of June. Before that there had been a long, long, dry, dry spell. I'm talking like time measured in almost a year, not months. But I started grooving again and was really pleased with the progress I was making on my WIP. I wasn't necessarily aiming for a particular word count each day, just making sure that I sat down and wrote something. Most days, I was recording anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words. Not too shabby. I was pretty pleased and well on my way toward meeting my goal of finishing this story over the summer.

And then, BAM. Roadblock. In the middle of July I got sick. Bronchitis, laryngitis, and pink eye. Fever. Chills. Hacking cough. You name it. In the middle of summer!! It was awful. I was totally down for the count. I literally laid on the couch for ten days, not having the energy or motivation to do anything else except watch tv. (I had a mega "The Office" marathon. I think I watched three or four entire seasons.)

But eventually I started feeling better and got back into a normal routine...although believe it or not, I still have a lingering cough and a slightly scratchy voice...and was once again making progress. I'd lost a bit of momentum, but still felt I could meet my goal of finishing my 65,000 word story. From there I planned to print it out so I could do several rounds of edits, send it to a couple beta readers to gather their opinions and insights, and then send off a query to a new (for me) publisher.

Then, just when I thought I was on the right path again...FORK IN THE ROAD. I was aiming for a 65,000 word novel. I've been so used to writing novellas, that writing a full-length was a bit of a challenge for me this time around. It was going to be stretching it to reach that 65K, but I was confident I could do it. And then I looked at the submission guidelines for the publisher I was considering. Turns out they want novels 85,000 to 100,000. (Now, yes, granted, this is my fault for not checking sooner. Although I swear I did check once upon a time and it said 65,000. But maybe I was just thinking of my current publisher. Who knows?) To say I was discouraged was an understatement. I lost any and all motivation to write and let the mss sit once again. Eventually (about a week later) I got over myself and sat down to finish the darn story.

Anyway, now I'm faced with a dilemma, and I'm not sure which direction to go. My story is for all intents and purposed finished. There's a beginning, a middle, and a happily-ever-after ending. It's at 63,000. There are a few scenes I'd like to add to here and there, which will bring me to what I thought was the magic number of 65K. I can still follow those first two steps. Polish it up. Get a few beta opinions. And then submit it to my current publisher (that I really, really love...don't get me wrong.)

But I'd envisioned something a bit different for this one. Stepping out of my comfort zone and putting myself and my story out there. Just to see what happens. But to do that, I'm going to need to add at least 20,000 words to my story. That is A LOT of words. I mean, it's an entire novella. This wouldn't simply involve adding or extending scenes, this is adding a whole ton of content. Not just extending the story, but going back to various places in the middle and creating new scenes, chapters, and interactions.

I don't know if I have it in me. I know I won't have the time to write like I have been. Like I said, I'm back to school next week. I'd love to think that since I'm back in a writing routine, I'll at least be able to clock something each night. My writers' group is doing this great challenge, too, which is wonderful motivation. It's the 90 words for 90 days challenge. (#CN90wordsfor90days) Starting August 1 and going through October 31, the idea is to write at least 90 words everyday. There's a chance for a prize at the end for those who accomplish it. It's definitely helping me to stay motivated at the moment, let me tell you. I'm I'm still averaging about 1200 words per day at this point, so the 90 I can do standing on my head...most days.

But, like I said, I'm stuck trying to figure out which direction to take with this book now. If I go one way, it's super exciting to think I might be close to finishing it. If I go another way, it's super daunting to think about creating so much more plot. At this point I don't need to rush...even though summer is over, I can take my time in attempting those additional 20,000 words. But come December it will be a year since I've had a release. And who knows how long the process will take, if I even would get a contract from this new publisher, to get this book in print.

I'm stuck. I honestly don't know what to do. Any thoughts? Advise? Sarcastic comments? Smart aleck remarks? Any and all would be appreciated.

For now, I'm going to get out my lap top and clock those 90 words right now.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. Wow, you've been through the ringer. Personally, I wouldn't force it and I'd take a step back and breathe. You have a story that you can most likely publish as is (with a few extra thousand words). So experiment and see what happens. See if you can expand it enough to reach that 85,000 word goal. If you can, great! Now you have more than one publisher you can go to. If not, you still have a great story that you can submit to your current one. Either way, you're doing well and you've reached beyond your novella stage to a full-size novel. Lots of reasons to feel proud.

    1. Oh, and I've noticed your increased presence on social media. :)

    2. I like the idea of not forcing it. I mean, if there's only so much of the story to be told, then that's it, right?

      Thanks! Taking a step back and breathing is good, too. LOL

  2. So sorry you've been sick - what a bummer just when you were on a roll with your writing.
    Personally I'd aim for the 65K. Adding another 20K could end up as being obvious 'padding' unless you can invent and integrate a new and different plot strand - although this could mean having to rewrite the whole thing! Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    1. I definitely don't want it to sound like padding, that's for sure. And that's definitely a possibility if I go back and add words.

      Thanks, Paula.

  3. I agree with Paula.
    The plot of story you've almost finished is complete. IMO, going back in and expanding the plot to meet a word count will be difficult. I would submit the story (when polished to your satisfaction) to TWRP or a different publisher (I can recommend Soul Mate Press). Then start a new story that can reach the 85,000 word count.

    1. Expanding just for the sake of expanding would be difficult, I completely agree.

      And I do have ideas for two new series of books. Who knows? Maybe those will be longer and more indepth so I can aim toward those 85,000 words.

      Thanks, Ana!

  4. Thanks, ladies. You have no idea how much I appreciate your advice. It's always hard to see something when you're right in the middle of it. It helps so much to have a pair (or several) of outside eyes with no attachment to the project.

    First and foremost, I am going to breathe. :)
    And then I think I'm going to print out what I have and do a paper read-through...and then...go from there.

  5. Sorry to hear you've been ill and good luck with the book