Last October I finished the first draft of my YA paranormal fantasy, Caribou Canyon. I'm sad to say that it took about two years to write. There are three reasons for this. The first is that there were several breaks in there for major things like surgery and moves and other life events. The other reason was that it was a pretty polished first draft so I took a lot of time going over each chapter. The final reason is that I did no outline (I don't outline first drafts and I stand firmly by this decision to fly by the seat of my flower-print skirts) so it turned out to be 250k words long. Yeah, you read that right. And that's with the ending summarized, so in actuality it should've been more like 260k.
I put it down for awhile, since this is apparently a thing one is supposed to do. I've recently considered serializing it, which I'm sure everyone already knows because you are all loyal and faithful readers. I've started reading it and making notes. My hope was that I'd be able to shorten it. I remember having several ideas of ways to shorten it. One of my friends from writer's group said that the longer it got the more likely it would be that I would be able to chop stuff off of the beginning.
Well, after reading the first three chapters here are what some of my notes look like:
• There needs to be something in between these two chapters
• It sounds like I'm skipping ahead
• I need a scene through this character's POV
• I need to write this out instead of summarize it
I've decided this is not my fault. Sure, it's my story, but it's not my fault it keeps getting bigger and bigger. You see, it's a paranormal story so there's an element of the paranormal at work here. This morning I suddenly found myself reminded of my childhood, when my parents were going through a divorce. My dad wanted to be the cool dad, so he let my sister and I watch every god awful horror movie ever made.
There's one called "The Blob". I'm thinking of the one from 1988. Yeah. It's actually a remake of a movie from the '50s. Imagine my shock. "The Blob" is a really awful (though scary when you're around 9) movie about this giant blob of red stuff that just keeps getting bigger and bigger and consuming everything and anything in its path, including people. The more people it devours, the bigger it gets.
My story is like the blob. I feed it words and the words multiply. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger all by itself. There's no stopping it. I've created a monster. A wonderful, awesome monster, but a monster all the same.
That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Crazy word counts are not my fault. Nope.
So, while I've only read 3 of the 115 chapters I'm not sure if the serial format will work. I'm going to finish reading and taking notes and then make an outline (I'm not opposed to outlines for later drafts) and then decide. Since I'm thinking of new ideas I might find a way to break it up into 2 or 3 novels which would be a novel concept, in which case "The Blob" phenomenon is quite welcome.
Or maybe it's "The Gremlins"? You feed it after midnight and then it multiplies? Hmmm . . .