When I was a software architect, my project plans were often frowned upon at first. They seemed ‘heavy’ or ‘bloated’, and it wouldn’t show the date that the executives wanted. I would explain that I accounted for things like sick time, as well as people’s kids being sick, and depending on the life of the project, the time impact of one person leaving and needing to be replaced. It’s amazing how many times these plans were then crunched, against my protests, and then proven to be dead on. No matter how many people you have in the room, that baby’s not going to be ready any sooner.
I’m learning to adopt this thinking into my writing, and I’d hope that would be the case as I work on book number 11. This past week hasn’t been very productive from a ‘revising the manuscript’ or ‘adding new words’ perspective, but despite falling sick (and thank goodness for the flu shot because the symptoms are mild but I’m still feeling yucky and am unable to concentrate) AND with having my kids home from school because of PD days (is there a rule against having 3 solid weeks of school in a row) I did manage to move things forward in a very important way.
I’d hoped to get The King’s-Horse Book 1 out to beta-readers a week ago, but felt it needed more work. It’s a very good thing too. As I worked on the story last week, I realized there was a naturally stopping point about half-way through the book. The story could stand as a big novella/shorter novel (~40k words) rather than the full sized novel that it was becoming as I worked through my revisions (new target had passed 70k as scenes got fleshed out better during the revision process). On Saturday, I cleaned up the possible end and gave it to my wife to read. She hasn’t read a beta of a book of mine in a couple of years, and in the span of about two hours, she was done (I wish I could read like that). Her feedback was excellent, and while I’ve been too out of it to ‘write write’, I’ve been able to sketch out what needs to happen to make this novella solid enough to warrant a bigger beta (and I wouldn’t be surprised it if officially crosses that line into novel land).
As much as I’d like to have this novel done so that I can release it at the end of April for CalgaryExpo, I’m not going to rush out a book that’s not everything I could make it. That said, I’ve also learned not to sit on stories that are mostly done too long because I lose the mojo for the story. I think it’s like ripeness, I’ve got to get it to peak-ripe. The question is, where is that point? It’s horrible when you’ve over-written a story and ruined it.
Anyway, hopefully by a week on Saturday I’m able to send out the new version for the wider beta, we’ll see. Until then, I’m going to continue watching episodes of Super-Girl and a few other things on Netflix (when I’m not chasing after the kids).