As per my last post, I paid heed to my Embers beta readers and added in some much needed extra scenes from James’ POV. I also needed to make Elsa’s motives clear. They say to trust your reader but I realised I’d expected mine to understand something I hadn’t even hinted at. I knew what Elsa was thinking, deep down. She wouldn’t admit it even to herself, so on the surface there was something a little bit contrary with no justification. At least not to those who weren’t aware of her motives.
So, I added that in. Everyone said they loved James and wanted to see more from his POV. I couldn’t do that without justifying the scenes, so I twisted the story a little, so it made sense, changed the POV of a few scenes from Elsa’s to James’ (which is how I got her motives down without forcing her to think about things better left forgotten, et voila!
However… that means I’ve got a 147.5k novel now. That might not be so bad, but I didn’t want to put my readers off. YA generally contains 70-90k words. Shite!
So, can I break it down into two books? No, not really. That doesn’t work for me. Can I delete scenes? Well, I could, but everything I had before this edit was relevant. I started to flap, uncontrollably. Like I said… shite! I looked at a lot of websites, ones I had bookmarked already (I love sites dedicated to writing and editing with tips on how to improve). One of them was Maggie Stiefvater’s blog. She gave some great advice. She said when she’s been faced with the same problem before, she’s gone through the whole novel and deleted sentences here and there so as not to lose full scenes. I don’t think I can delete enough to reduce the size by a third.
I believe my opening chapter is enthralling enough to keep the interest of my readers. But, is it critical to the story? Well, yes. But I wonder if I can twist the way it’s written. If I can figure out how to re-word the beginning, so that it starts at a later point, then it could be a successful edit. I won’t get anywhere near a third of it reduced that way, but if I do that, AND remove the odd line here and there…. hopefully, I’ll be on to a winner!
Watch this space!