That moment when…your novel tells you it’s a short story and that 15,000 word project tells you it’s a novel. That happened to me last week, after I finished first-draft edits on the novel, which was, as all first drafts are, a hot mess. I realized that there was nothing holding it together, because there were no underlying themes and my protagonist didn’t really have a purpose.
Underlying themes can go a long way within a novel. I touched on this a bit with my post here, but I really figured it out with the messy hand-edits of the dregs of that first draft. So, with that in mind, I tried to find ways to shorten it down, and with those re-writes, something strange happened–the themes started to reveal themselves and I found a way to incorporate them back in. So, with any luck, it will be a novel after all–after a lot of painful surgery. And, I figure, I might as well make it a short story too.
So, a brief but helpful reminder. Just because something doesn’t look the way you expected doesn’t mean you should give up on it. Sometimes stories are more than what they seem, and as the vessels of those stories, we have a chance to explore them to their depths and see how far down they really go. Remember, it’s not the shape of the iceberg that matters, but what direction it’s going.
Stay tuned for another author interview on Wednesday and a review next week–I’ve been reading tons of amazing stuff!