After I typed "The End" on my wip, I cracked open a glass of wine, danced around my office, and announced to the hubby that he would get to see my face for more than a couple of hours a day now. Then a scary thing happened. I read the manuscript in it's entirety.

I wanted to run screaming from the room. I'd changed a couple of character's names mid -story, including the villain. I realized that at the beginning of the book, my heroine was a weenie. And not only was it only forty-two thousand words, it needed a serious rewrite. I felt like there was a major conspiracy going on and I was in my own version of writer's hell. Someone had let the air out of my balloon and left me standing around with a string and a limp piece of rubber.

Thank God my crit partners had some suggestions on areas that needed expansion. I'm very wary of expansion. I don't believe in fluff. You now those sometimes endless snippets that have nothing to do with the story? You can almost hear the author pounding at the keys chanting, "I must increase my word count." It's made me put a book down on more than one occasion.

So now, I'm back at page one, the critiques from my crit partners at my side, and luckily, tons of ideas of my own. I see so many opportunities that I didn't see before. And none of it's fluff. But it's definitely not "The End."

Blog question: Have you ever had to expand after you thought your story was perfect? How do you avoid the fluff?


The end is just the beginning! It will come together for you.

Hey Shawn.
I HATE fluff, too. I usually have to add stuff myself.
And, yes, I've had to add many, many times. I think with our ideas, and your own, of course, that you won't have any problem expanding this without any fluff.
Go, girl!

I know you're right Delores. I just need to find that same high I had when I typed the first word.

Hi, D'Ann
I'm so glad to have you and the other girls as crit partners. You ladies have been a life-saver.

One step at a time. :) You still have editing and revisions to do. I've found my manuscript tends to expand as I edit. It's an opportunity to add voice, deeper POV, and show where I've told.

There's plenty of time to worry later. Right now, just focus on getting through the first pass of editing. :) Who knows, a new scene might come to you in the middle. If it's too short after, then start exploring ways to expand.

Thanks for the advice Reena. I'm already finding fun little tidbits to add that make the story stronger.

Hi Shawn,
To avoid forgetting and changing names, I found it's best for me to keep a style sheet as I write. It includes all names, places, and dialect spellings. It helps me remember as I go along. I can also supply it to my editor for use by the proofreader. And yes, I've had to expand. I usually go back and add some detail on emotions and actions, and see where I can insert an additional scene or two that advances the story. Good luck on your manuscript.

Hi Cat
As it turns out, most of my addtions are coming from adding emotion. I love it when a scene makes me laugh or cry. That's what I want to pull from a reader.

I did this after NaNoWriMo last year. I ended up with a novel just the way I wanted it. Except it was about 35000 words too short. Oops. Then I re-read it and it was pretty awful to boot. Still loved the concept though, so now I've spent several months taking it apart and putting it back together, expanding bits (without fluff, I hope), etc. It is a pain in the butt way to do things!

Hopefully, you will find a lot you can salvage. I find myself constantly surprised at how much useable stuff I can find in what I thought of as junk.

I finished my first MS late spring. I danced, I sang, I did the Irish Jig! I queried and stopped. It wasn't where it needed to be. I am in my 3rd re-write. I have been writing this story since July of '09. I started my 2nd MS but am now back on tweaking, hopefully, the final re-write. I have a partial waiting and am excited the 3rd time really maybe the charm.

It will happen. Just breathe. I think I will be done when these characters stop talking to me.

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A dreamer. That's how I would describe myself. Come to think of it, that's how most people would describe me. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with paranormal romances. I live in Atlanta, Ga, with the man of my dreams. We met in Korea while serving in the armed forces and after a two month courtship, got married. We've been together 21 years.

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