Here’s what happened:
Earlier this year, Silhouette called and asked me to write a book for one of their continuity series. This means that part of my plot is already carved in stone, but I’m free to make up the rest. They wanted the book to be between 260 and 300 pages.
I designed a plot-around-the-plot that fit their needs and also pleased me creatively. I outlined it to make sure that there were 12 chapters, each of which would be 20 pages in length. For the math whizzes out there, yes indeedie, that’s only 240. But I tend to go over, so this was just right.
Fast forward to last weekend, when I finished Chapter Eight on page 175. Yikes.
Please don’t tell me not to panic. I know me. This is not good.
“Make up the pages by shortening the last four chapters,” you say?
Are you insane! Have you ever seen a snowball rolling down a hill? Are you familiar with the expressions “May Day” or “Houston, we have a problem”?
So today, I forced myself to re-calculate, and confirmed the worst. There is still so much to say and do, I can’t possibly do it in four 20-page chapters. I need six of them plus an epilogue.
175 plus 120 plus 10. That equals 305. I think my editor can live with that. But can I? I thought I was almost done! Sheesh!
The good news is, I’m starting to really love this story. That’s odd, because even though I was wildly fond of it, I didn’t feel like I really owned it. Not until now.
When it spilled over and became an unmanageable, fabulous mess – well, that’s when it crossed the line for me. It’s my baby now, so to all nay-sayers and page-counters, I say: Back off! I LOVE this book. And in the end, that’s all that matters. Right?