There comes a point in during the creation phase of a book when you hit the downhill slide. The point where you are getting close to your ideal word count goal… when you know where the book is headed and all you have to do is reach the finish line. I am reaching that point in my current work in progress. Another thousand words and I will have crested the top of the hill and be ready to slide down to the finish line, pell mell all the way.
The downhill slide is a bittersweet time for me. I’m excited to get to the finish line, yet saddened to be leaving the story behind for awhile. I console myself (yes – console) that revisions lie ahead in a few short weeks and I will be reunited with my characters and have the opportunity to mold and shape the raw clay I have produced. It’s also at this point where I look at what I have to fit into the remainder of the book and look at the dwindling words left to write, and a tiny bit of panic sets in. How will I fit it all in?
Fortunately, I have learned who I am as a writer and always build in a buffer (minimum 10K) because I know I will add more before I cut. Then after I have built the book up to a point where it is longer than it should be, I reach for the scalpel, and start trimming away the fat. This particular project, being a middle grade novel, means I have a little less leeway with the word count than I normally do with a young adult novel, so the hill is looking pretty steep as I make my way to the top. The slide will be steep, and the ride will be fast, but I am ready to hit it at a run.