Progress: 117,884 words, Twelve Chapters (Seven second draft, Five first draft)
Two things are clear to me: 1. I will not finish the second draft by the end of the month, 2. I will not get down to 100k words in this draft.
My timeline for this revision may have been optimistic, but I’m not too concerned over that. If it takes longer to get it ready for beta readers, then that I can accept. My real concern is over the word count. If you look at the last update of FC, you’ll see I’ve added close to 3,000 words.
While historical fiction is expected to be longer than other genres, I’ve read several times that a debut novel should not be above 100k. I see the reasoning from a publisher’s perspective; they assume that the writer makes poor editing choices, a sign that they are not ready for prime time.
When I started this draft I was doing well with cutting unnecessary words, tightening the screws of each sentence, but with each progressive scene I was compelled to add, rather than take away. The scenes where I felt the skin needed to stretch a bit, there were ample rewrites and new additions, so these scenes could almost be considered first drafts. They are, after all, only a modest resemblance of their former selves. After a makeover of that magnitude, it might take some time for the swelling to go down and scars to heal. Another revision will be in order to smooth it all out.
My hopes are that a third draft will be true pruning and I am able to get to the beautiful bare bones of the story. Like I did before this draft, I plan on taking a breather after completion of this revision. While people are reading, I can compile my notes and await notes from readers, but I will likely return to the first draft of Ghost City. I’m excited to get back to that, now that I have an outline waiting for me.
I have 27 days before this project reaches the 1-year mark and I think that is a good date to shoot for finishing the second draft and getting copies out into the world. As time does, this year has rushed by, but this will be a year in which I have “finished” a book. I’m looking forward to see what happens in the next circle around the sun.
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Matt, thanks for the update on your editing. You have a plan which allows for some flexibility, which is good.
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