The crisis, the point of no return, the middle of the book, whatever you want to call it — that’s where I am now in my WIP (work in progress). I’m writing the third book in my YA trilogy, The Children of Avalon. I’m really looking forward to getting the series finished — it’s something I’ve been working on for over two years now, maybe three? Actually, that’s not a lot of time, considering I’ve written two books and am half-way finished the third. And in between writing the first two books, I started a completely different book (and when I say completely different, I’m talking women’s fiction/mystery with a paranormal element. I’m talking a book so strange, I had to stop writing it to figure out just what it was that I was writing. But that’s a whole other blog post!).
So, this book that I’m writing is called Fire. Yes, the first was Air; the second is Water; and this one is Fire. They each have a subtitle which explains a little more (Merlin’s Chalice, Excalibur’s Return and Nimuë’s Destiny, in order.) And each of the elements relate to one of the protagonists (there are three, one main one for each book). I love this trilogy. I think it’s loads of fun. Very light. Not a lot of thinking involved. Not a heavy moral, although there is a deeper thing each kid is looking for or striving toward in each book, but I don’t think I smash my reader over the head with it — at least, I try not to.
But I’ve reached the middle, which means that it’s time for me to stop and figure out what I’ve got and where I’m going with this baby. Yes, I’ve started the book twice. The first time was boring and nothing very exciting happened. I realized this about a quarter of the way through, so I stopped then and rewrote the beginning to include a fight scene which essentially changed the whole first quarter of the book — for the better! I was happy with it, despite the fact that it meant I needed to rework everything I’d already written. But that’s ok. I’m totally fine with that as long as it makes the book better, and I’m convinced it did. But now I’m in the middle and looking toward the end.
And I’m looking at my word count.
31,600 (120 pages) including the big fight scene right at that 50% mark. That’s not going to be a long book. Sigh. Why do I always do this to myself? And it’s always at this point in the book that I stop and realize that what I’ve got, while not bad, is not going to be nearly long enough?
Only with Magic In The Storm, have I ever written a book that was a long as it was supposed to be. Somehow that book came in too long and I ended up cutting stuff and it’s still over 100,000 words (over 400 pages)! But I just couldn’t cut any more out of it without taking out big chunks of the story, which I felt were essential.
But Fire. It’s short! What am I going to do? Yes, after reading through it, I realize that I’ve forgotten to put in a subplot which has been running through the first two books, but that’s going to be maybe a scene? A few sentences here, a look and a giggle there (yes, it’s a romance subplot, but not involving the heroine of the book). And I need to make a secondary character less secondary and more fully developed — he’s the heroine’s love interest, even though he’s not a major character. But even that won’t add a lot of words.
So here I am stuck in the middle. I have already completely trashed the second half of the book as I’d planned it out before I started writing (I plan out everything before I start to write), and figured out a whole new second half (except the very ending, that’s staying the same — but that I’ve had planned out ever since I conceived of the trilogy, oh, so many years ago). But what am I going to do — just writ a short book? What do you think?