Thursday, August 10, 2017


I submitted a new MG novel to my agent a while ago. She felt that it needed work.  As much as my pride would like to deny it, she was right. Certain aspects of the plot required reimagining. Unfortunately I was unable to figure out how to implement the changes. Rather than grind away in frustration, I decided to put the manuscript away and let it silently ferment in my imagination. I recently picked it back up and the clarity of detachment enabled me to immediately diagnose the problem.  While plowing through the first draft, I had contracted a serious case of Harry Potter-itis. The plot was far too intricate. The manuscript was bloated with sub-plots.  Not that there's anything wrong with an intricate novel.  J. K. Rowling performed that challenge with consummate grace. However, that wasn't the best way to tell this particular story. This was a straight, swiftly moving river, not a meandering Mississippi.  Before diving into a new draft, I reread some of my favorite short novels.

I reintroduced myself to their compact, precise, gem-like brilliance. Flannery O'Connor said that story dictates form.  If the story in your heart feels like 100 page novel, not a 500 page book, do not hesitate to follow that path.  A short novel is splendid river to sail down!


  1. Such great advice; I've been on this same track lately. There's a beauty in focus and brevity. I'll be checking out the titles you have featured here...

  2. Thank you for this. Short MG novels are also good for the target audience--kids. :)


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!