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!