Phew! I’ve reread, revised, reordered and in some instances added to the first draft of my first short story which explains why my original 19,300 words has crept up to 21,750. Increasing the word count in the second draft is quite unusual for me as I’ve normally cut back on the text at this stage.
My usual problem is that I have a habit of writing and explaining absolutely everything in the first drafts. I like to explain what my characters are thinking about, worrying about, planning to do or not to do but even if I do cut the text at a later date, it’s never wasted effort. Sometimes the added explanations provide me with a prompt or reminder about what’s going on in my character’s mind so I know how they should be reacting later. It was my editor who told me not to explain so much – I need to leave some room for readers to draw their own conclusions!
So why my second draft has grown rather than shrunk in this instance, I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with it being a short story. I was aware from the start that I needed to be more efficient in getting the story across in a shorter word count so I was already being economical with my explanations and what I have added in the second draft is a little more depth to some of the descriptive elements. Hopefully I’m still on track but I’ll have to wait and see what my editor Kim thinks when I’m ready to send it to her.
My latest quandary is whether or not to have a rethink about the title. The story’s working title has always been ‘Less Than Perfect,’ and as readers and writers all know, it’s often the title and the cover that entice a potential reader to take a closer look as opposed to moving onto the next book on the shelf. In only a few words, my story has to convey the right message, suggest genre and offer a little intrigue. But that’s not the only thing worrying me about the title. Me being me, I can’t help imagining that if I keep with the current title then it’s only a matter of time before someone leaves a review saying, ‘ah, yes, a story that was definitely less than perfect.’
And so to ward off potential critics, the only thing I can do is to get back to the task at hand and start on the third draft and make it as good as it possibly can be.