Finished the book I’ve been working on. It came in at about 90,000 words, which is a bit long for a contemporary YA. On the other hand, the draft was always telling me it was gonna be 90. I mean when I look back at it, I can even see that the crucial midpoint scene came at exactly 45,000 words. I was just being a little delusional when I thought I could try and bring it in a little lighter.
However, I think there’s a lot here that can go, and I’m pretty sure I can bring it down to 70, or at least 80, thousand words after a few rounds of revision.
Otherwise I’m feeling pretty good about the book. The voice is really strong, and the characters are all pretty unique and well-rounded.It’s my tenth book! And I hope it’ll be the second book that I publish, but about that we will see.
I realized after writing this book that I’ve actually never written a really character-driven book. This is the first time I’ve ever done that thing where you just take a bunch of characters who’ve all got their own desires and agendas and then set them loose to cause drama with each other. What’s astonishing is how easy plotting becomes when you’ve got the characters doing the work for you. Like I used to spend all this time thinking of plot twists, but with this book it was pretty simple! Whenever I got stuck, I’d just think about the characters and about what they wanted, and then I’d have them go out and do something to get that thing.
Compared to Enter Title Here, this book is pretty low-concept. It’s actually not the easiest thing in the world to describe. It’s sort of like, you know how there are all these YA novels, like The Perks of Being A Wallflower, that are about a shy younger kid who’s befriended by a charismatic older kid whose love gives them the courage to keep living? Well my book is from the perspective of the charismatic older kid, and it asks, what do they get out of this? What compels them to make friends with someone who seems, externally at least, to be a bit of a bore? And what happens when the younger kid turns out to have bigger problems that the older kid is capable of solving?