I am basically finished with the first draft of MANHOLE with the exception of the epilogue. It's coming in at around 20,000 words. When I saw this word count, I started to panic. As if this book wasn't going to be tricky enough to sell as a YA, now I was going to have to sell it as a YA novella??? Is there even a market for that? But then I read the Mood Man's blog about first drafts and felt much better.
Of course it's going to end up more than 20,000 words. All my books grow after the first draft. Some people write massive first drafts and then cut cut cut. I write the bones of a story and then add add add. (I like to avoid descriptive language in my first draft bc as you know, I sort of hate it). Gestapo's first draft was 40,000 words, it's currently at 55,000 and may end up even longer when all is said and done. Radio Station's first draft was 36,000 words and with only the first 25% edited has grown to 45,000 words.
And of course with MANHOLE, it is intentionally sparse with a fairly straight-forward plot so I would like to keep it shorter anyway. Really, could any of us have gotten through PUSH or SPEAK or PLAY IT AS IT LAYS if it had 100 more pages??? Eeesh...
Plus, I'm writing from a dude's POV and it has been pointed out to me (ahem, Carrie and Mood Man) that dude's don't spend a lot of time describing the type of pants a girl wears or the color of the flecks in her eyes. Which brings me to my Mars/Venus story of the day...involving my return home from vacation:
Me: Yeah, so we had this really funny incident involving a Brazilian wax.
Hubs: WHAT? Do women talk about that kind of stuff?
Me: Of course.
Hubs: Bah. I can't ever imagine talking to a guy about those things.
Me: Really? What do you talk about?
Hubs: Uh... sports, work, guy stuff.
Me: Well, what if the guy doesn't like sports?
Hubs: (shrug) Then we just drink and watch what's on TV.
Me: What do you do about the awkward silence?
Hubs: Guys don't have awkward silences. Women made that up. There isn't such a thing as an awkward silence.
So tell me, do you draft and cut or draft and add??? And have you ever worried about the length of your manuscripts because they don't fit the traditional guidelines one way or another??