Add or Chop?

What to do if your manuscript word count is too low:

  1. Consider making it book one in a series.
  2. Publish it as a novella.
  3. Reread your manuscript. Are there places you can add a scene? A chapter? 
  4. Could you write a prologue? An Epilogue?

What to do if your manuscript word count is too high:

  1. Reread your manuscript. Look for ways to use more concise vocabulary in order to say what you intend, but with less words.
  2. Eliminate repetition. Especially in cases where you are revealing your character’s inner thoughts.
  3. Split your book in two, making the second half another book in your “new” series.
  4. Remove some of your content (especially in non-fiction or self-help books) and use the “extra” content in a blog, short story, etc.

Looking At It From A Different Angle

Have you ever thought that your hair looked pretty good until you viewed it in a three-way mirror and realized it didn’t look so great when you looked at it from a different angle?

Well, that’s kind of what it was like for me when, this morning, I received my manuscript for Runaways: The Long Journey Home in book format. Errors just popped out at me. It was like seeing my book from an entirely different angle—that of the potential reader.

If you are not yet a published author, or at least not to the point of seeing your book formatted, I’d like to share with you, over the course of my next few posts, some of the things that I noticed. Hopefully, they will help you avoid these mishaps.

As I scrolled through the pages, just for a visual reaction, I noticed right away that several of my chapters started almost identically. Sure, I had been careful to drop the reader into the middle of the action and I had identified the POV right away (good things I observed) but what stood out to me was the fact that the beginning sentence of quite a few chapters started with “Jake stared”, “Jake pounced”, “Jake stretched”… you get the picture.

This may not be wrong, but it is certainly bothersome to me—it lacks creativity and is lazy writing, in my opinion.

So, what will I do?  Rewrite, of course!

Although I often talk to myself about the curse of rewriting, in this case rewriting is my friend. It will save me from a huge embarrassment, even if I am the only one to notice it.

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have rewritten paragraphs, scenes, even entire chapters. Each time, things improve. This will be no different. I will look at it as a positive.

Will I ever be truly satisfied?  Probably not.

Will I ever click the “publish” button and give it the okay? I hope so.

There comes a point to where a writer just has to say that he or she has done all they can do.

A bad hair day doesn’t need to define us. We recomb, restyle, and respray. Then we have to be content and say, “That’s as good as it’s gonna get.”