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The best laid plans (or when you get feedback you weren’t expecting)

So as I’m plugging along on edits for the novella, I got a piece of feedback I wasn’t expecting. One reviewer (one I trust highly as she and I have very similar tastes in reading materials) urged me to turn it into a novel.

Currently, it’s sitting around 52,000 words. Smack in the sweet spot of novella-land. But she felt that the dramatic scene at the end should actually come more around the 60% mark. She’s not wrong. There’s a formula to writing books. You don’t have to stick to the formula exactly, but the formula exists for a reason. It works. And that formula basically says that you have a nice dramatic scene that sets up for the satisfying ending and that drama comes a good 20-30% before the end of the book. Of course there’s drama at the end as well, but that’s a different part of the formula.

Well, I wasn’t overly concerned with that formula when I thought I was writing a novella. But I probably should have been. It still applies.

Luckily, I intended this to be a 3-4 novella series. So I know some of what happens between the current ending of novella #1 and the one scene I’ve written of what will be novella #3 or #4. If I turn these into books instead, it’ll likely be two books. I can live with that. But I think I actively went through the 5 stages of grief tonight after reading her feedback.

“No! I won’t do it. It’s a novella!”

“Damnit. She’s probably right. Now I need to write more.”

“Well, maybe if I just add this little bit…”

“Damnit, I just wanted to get this done and out there. I’m NEVER going to finish.”

“Yeah, she’s right. I can do this. Ok, let’s outline.”

So now, 2 hours later, I have a potential outline for the next 10-15K words. Luckily some of them are already written. I’m looking forward to chatting with her more this week about this as she really is one of the reviewers I’ve been most desperate for feedback from. I hope I can actually make this work.

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