The Valley of the Mystic Moon, the first novel in my Chronicles of Aura Lockhaven series, is finished!

Okay, so it’s just the first draft. It really won’t be finished until I thoroughly revise it. I’ve already spotted places that need major work.

And I cheated. Halfway through the next to last chapter of the intended first book, I realized that the word count had crossed the 100,000 word threshold. So, I decided to end the first book earlier, and moved the last four chapters to the second book. I think it balances the first two books better that way.

You may be wondering why I was concerned about word count. When a publisher looks at a first novel from a writer, he or she likes the word count range of 80,000 to 120,000 words. Any less signals that the book isn’t developed enough. Any more signals that the writer didn’t revise enough. At 100,000 words, I knew this book would present a problem. My second drafts are always longer than my first.

That flies in the face of conventional wisdom, but it’s how I write. My first drafts are always skeletons. I write dialogue first, then description and action. I only add enough narrative to hold the story together. Narrative is my weak area. It isn’t enough, though, to just say “Aura walked across town.” Readers want more. They want their emotions engaged. Oh, all right! So, the narrative grows in my second draft. At 100,000 words, I really had no room to add muscle and flesh to my book. Now, at 85,000 words, I do. My goal is that 100,000 word mark. It’s a good size.

And I have a good beginning on book two, The Witch of Stonewall, already.

Now, to let Valley sit in the drawer and bake while I write Witch. Then, in January, I’ll start revising.



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