Right now, as I'm creating this blog post, I'm writing the last chapter of my free novella...and I mean it this time. By the time you read this, it'll probably be done.
I just got done doing a word count across all chapters. Right now I'm sitting a little over 32,000 words. Given that most of my chapters fall below 4,000 words, I think it's safe to say that I'm not going to top 36,000 words. The book, however, is straying perilously close to Novel territory, which is 40,000 words and up. Of course, by the time I do a couple of passes on the manuscript, it very well may top 40K.
After the editor gets ahold of the book, however, I have an uncanny feeling the word count will drop. In fact, they say you can lose 10% of your word count after the editor gets done.
But this is definitely the last chapter.
The premise of the story changed a bit from my original concept. I started thinking about certain elements, and thought that an expansion was in order. Frankly speaking, I'd rather provide more content than less, especially if I think it's essential for the overall story. I guess what's good for you - the reader - is that you get more for your money...which is more for nothing because the online novel will basically be free.
I figured out how to produce the novel and churn it out into a PDF format. I sot of had an inkling how to do it, but I wasn't sure as to the specifics. Once the story is done, and the editing is complete, I don't think it will take me long to generate the PDF. All that'll be left will be somehow distributing the document after you provide me your e-mail address.
OK, so there is a small cost.
In addition to pounding out the first draft of the last chapter, I'm also doing revisions to the chapters I've already completed. There might be a couple rounds of this before I hand it off to my beta reader (my wife). Once I get her feedback, it's off to the editor.
I have to say, that revising this manuscript is way more fun than churning out the roughs. I really didn't have a clear vision of what I wanted this book to be when I started. Now that I'm at the end, reworking the raw material did get some of those creative juices flowing. The characters are not as strong as they are in some of my previous works, but each has a distinctive personality. When I was writing the roughs, I didn't really have a sense whether what I was creating was solid enough or not. I was sort of fighting my instincts and felt pretty indecisive about how I was constructing things. I was forcing myself to write something, and not going back and nit-picking things after a page or two; especially my prose. Now that I've reached the nit-picking stage, I'm finding the groundwork is more solid than I originally thought. I mean, I am doing a lot of revising, but I'm not hacking whole sections apart. The prose comes when it does, however, I'm not getting a sense that the story itself is weak. Quite the contrary, in fact.
The only thing this book lacks is a deep, resonant theme. It's the thought-provoking stuff that I really love to write, as well as being a vehicle for some powerful prose. It's hard to do in a short format, because it requires a lot of build-up and scaffolding in order to insert it at the right spot. I have numerous moments in the Frankie Falawell books where I pull this off. This just doesn't have the story, or the right characters to make it happen. Then again, I still have the last chapter to write, so maybe something will come to mind.
Switching gears here, the second book in the Frankie Falawell series is now off to the beta readers. There was a lot of enthusiasm about getting the second book. I certainly hope that enthusiasm is rewarded. This book starts a little different than the first, but it ends pretty strong on a cliffhanger (sorry, in advance, to all you cliffhanger haters).
I still have four publishers reviewing the manuscript of the first book at present. I'm pretty certain they will all pass, so I'm gearing up for self-publishing at this point. There are three more publishers that I might query, but I'm getting rejection fatigue. On one hand, I have people reading my book, and telling me they love it (not "like," but love). On the other hand I have publishers giving me a litany of excuses why they're not picking it up. I have no intention of rewriting the story in First Person, and obviously that is a make-or-break thing. So I guess I'll be going it alone.
And that's that. I'll provide another update next month.