It’s been a bit since I’ve given an update on my writing, so why not a quick one now? As of this moment, I’m about 43,000 words into the GET CUPID revision–my YA heist fantasy novel. The second draft clocked in at 108,000 words long, more or less. So by that accounting, I’m far less than halfway through the revision.
In that 108,000 word draft, I’m at the point that happens around 78,000 words in. Does that make sense? It means that I cut 35k words from the first 78k words of the novel. That’s roughly 140 of the first 312 pages, to put it in clearer perspective. I’ve completely eliminated the second viewpoint character. I’ve brutally squashed out any mention of not one, not two, not three, but FOUR supporting characters. (Curious who got the axe? The Godfather’s viewpoint is gone. Luke is gone. So are Chryse and Wingtip, along with almost all mention of Cupid, ironically enough. Come to think of that, I might have to fix that last bit, or else rename the whole book . . .)
The last 30k or so shouldn’t be too big of a rewrite. It’s the actual heist, and while a fair bit of it needs to change, a lot of it can just be tweaked. Of course, then I need an entirely new denouement, which will necessitate adding at least one more chapter.
It’s been quite a trip, as far as revisions go. The big question in my head is: “Will it all result in a stronger book?” And at this point, I’ll be brutally honest.
I have no way of knowing.
The second draft was what I thought I wanted it to be. But in the end, it was too chaotic and all over the place. It was 1000 parts of awesome crammed into a container that can only fit about 250. And so it exploded. This revision, I’ve tried to streamline it down to the essentials of the plot. Allow me to explain why.
As I looked at the second draft and put it in context of the input I got from my esteemed agent, it seemed like the problem was it was just too much for one book. I didn’t just want a heist book. I wanted a twisty turny heist book, chock full of fascinating characters and crazy magic systems and–and–and–
It was overwhelming. Kind of like what happens when you’re at Disney World and suddenly your kids stop being able to be amazed. They’re in sensory overload. Nothing registers anymore.
So I had to decide what I really wanted to keep of the book. What it was at its core. And then I trimmed and hacked and cut some more to get to there. But when you’ve been working on a project this much for this long, there comes a point that you can’t see the forest for the trees. You have no way of really knowing whether what you’re doing is working or not.
I’ll finish the draft. I’ll send it to my agent, and as soon as I do, I’ll start on some other projects. Maybe another Middle Grade book. Maybe a new YA. Or maybe I’ll be getting back to THE MEMORY THIEF. Or working on a different project. But I know I’ll wait and see what my agent has to say about CUPID. I hope it’s salvageable, but sometimes books don’t work. Sometimes they need time to breathe in your mind, until you come up with a way to fix them. We’ll see what’s the case this time . . .