I slept poorly last night and it’s my own damned fault.
I can’t get over how much anxiety I’ve felt over my word count being so out of line with my goal. I kept trying to think of solutions and items I could edit out to make the story cleaner and stronger. Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have seen a tweet by me earlier stating that I’d found a solution and so far it’s working.
I’m cutting my book to a single Viewpoint Character. Not altogether mind you, there will still be a few short stints in other viewpoints, and it’s still going to be Third Person Limited. My target for this book is Young Adult, a category of books where a single viewpoint isn’t only a regular occurrence, it’s actually the norm. So that’s a big load off my chest. Of course, it means I have a lot of work to do on this revision as I have a number of scenes where I’ve switched viewpoints.
What I’ve done to start is go back to my outline and give myself a budget. My average chapter length is ~2000 words, some are as much as 3000, a few (the rare exception) are as short as 1000, so that gives me about 50 chapters to work with.
I took the major beats of the story and set them out, then I placed important plot points in between, trying to keep things relatively evenly spaced for pacing and progression. A few plot points are being juggled, one of the sub-plots is being dropped altogether, and I’m still trying to find ways to work in an important plot thread that primarily followed one of my other characters. It’s not integral to this particular book, so it may get shifted to a second book.
All that said, my word count tonight actually slips back about 3K words, even though I wrote somewhere close to 3000 tonight filling some of the earlier gaps.
The next few nights I’m going to divide my focus, editing one of the earlier chapters to fit the new single viewpoint and tightened plot, and writing out one new chapter to keep the story moving forward.
This approach should help make the next revision pass a little faster, and help bring more depth and clarity to my main viewpoint character and their relationships with those around them as I can no longer rely on those characters to pull their weight. It should also help me sleep better at night (I hope).
I’ll keep you all posted.