The draft I’m revising right now, a work of fiction I call TWINK, is too damn short. By ‘short’, I’m talking south of 53,000 words, which is shy of viable by a good 20,000 words, I’m thinking. I vowed not to pad the thing because story is paramount, screw word count.
For the last week or so, I’ve been wracking my brain, trying to come up with plot points I can add here and there to enhance the thing; give it the depth and breadth it needs, and most assuredly deserves; and perhaps, is somehow lacking.
Not padding the manuscript. Developing the story.
I bit the bullet and added one scene; read what I added, and cut what I wrote. I revised two others scenes, but word count remained static, and now I’m thinking, Maybe this story is as long as it should be. Who am I to. . .
I’m the author, that’s who I am, and this author needs to change how she’s viewing her novel. It’s short, that’s true, but the story takes place within a relatively short span of time: not counting prologue and epilogue, I’m talking ten hours now; eleven hours, tops. Only so much can happen in eleven hours and right now, every hour is pretty well accounted for.
What I need isn’t 20,000 more words. What I need is a new perspective, and what I need to do is examine each scene carefully to see if it’s pulling its weight, doing what it needs to do. Ratchet the tension when prudent, add and subtract scenes to develop my characters. Tighten the narrative to drive the story and move it forward; which may well result in a further loss of words, but the words that remain will make sense for these characters, this story.
In other words, fuck word count. My new motto?
Make. Words. Count.
All 53,000 of ’em, dammit.