by Shelt Garner
Because the second draft of the novel came in at 80,000 words, I have allowed myself 20,000 extra words for the third draft. I am using most of these additional new words to lay out character and world building. That has been one of the major complaints of those few beta readers who have been willing to give me input — too much of the novel was in my mind and not on the page.
It has taken a lot more time than I expected to think up a new beginning for the novel that satisfies me. But, I am beginning to tentatively believe that one may have come to me. It’s been a lot of work, but the beginning I’ve come up with does exactly what I want — gives people some sense of the world I want them to read about as well as the characters who inhabit that world.
I really have to lean into making these scenes as compelling as possible, even though, in real terms, not a lot really happens. It’s all prep work for the main event. I’m worried that the audience will grow impatient, wanting something of note to actually happen.
And, yet, the counter argument is that only by laying the groundwork of the novel can I produce a work that people care enough about to finish. The current beginning is interesting, but apparently a little too jarring for some people who don’t understand what’s going on.
Like I said, now I’m giving them 20,000 new words at the beginning of the novel so they can get settled and get some sense of the characters I hope they like enough to spend 100,000 words with. It definitely will be interesting to see how successful I am in that regard.