Manuscript Miracles

I’m in the final stages of Somewhere Between Luck and Trust, the second in my Goddesses Anonymous series.  Can those of you who’ve just read One Mountain Away guess the major character in this one?  She was introduced in the first book, and we’ve traveled another winding road to the end of this novel.  But the journey’s been a good one, except for one problem.

As I always do, once my first draft is finished, I read the entire manuscript out loud.  No matter how many times I do this, I am always surprised at the number of changes I need.  Awkward sentences.  Timelines to rework.  Repetition.  Stilted dialogue and more.  My ear catches all the problems my eyes glossed over so easily.  I can’t imagine turning in a book without this final step, no matter how tedious and never-ending it seems.

And tedious and never-ending describe it well.

The biggest problem I’ve had with Somewhere has been length.  I didn’t know my final word count until I put the whole book into one file.   And the news wasn’t good.  Even before I began to read, I realized I had to cut a large chunk of what I’d written to even get near the ballpark.  So for the past two weeks as I read, I trimmed.  One whole chapter went because it slowed the action.  Half of another chapter met the same fate.  Sentences fell like trees in a logger’s path.  But despite that, the book was still too long.  The word count inched down, but  not nearly far or fast enough.

Then yesterday, in the final third, a miracle occurred.  I discovered that at some point, as I was moving chapters into my final file, I had moved two of them twice.  Once they were removed my word count was almost where I needed it to be.  And I still have eight chapters to read and revise.  Who knows how many words will disappear by the time I’m done?

Someday I’ll learn to condense as I write.  Someday I’ll have fewer ideas and explore them with less detail.  Someday . . .  But for now, picture me at my computer reading each sentence out loud and weighing the content.  Then picture me dancing a jig on Wednesday when the manuscript finally takes flight for the next stage of its journey.

I will, too.  You can count on it.


  1. Lucy Harney on August 14, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I think this is Ethan’s and Analise’s story.

  2. Debbie Haupt on August 14, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Wow Emilie what a great thing to happen.
    I can guess who’s the feature of the next book but there are a few possibilities so I’ll just have to wait to find out. What I do know for sure is that when I take that plunge to read I have to clear my plate because nothing will get done when I’m into one of your books.

  3. Lynn Ross on August 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

    What a wonderful thing to happen! I’m so glad you didn’t have to cut any more than you did, because I love every word of description that you write. Don’t your editors realize that your fans will read your books no matter how long they are? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I know you need to attract new fans, too. 🙂 I’m only half-way through One Mountain Away, so I can’t give an educated guess as to whose story is next. I am loving the book and can hardly bear to put it down.

  4. Penny Prichard on August 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I just finished One Mountain Away – what a treasure. I love the characters and cannot wait to see the evolve through the series. My son is a glassblower in Asheville so it was particularly fun for me to try and recognize spots in the book. The characters are true to Asheville. I don’t care how long your next book is, I will treasure every word. I think the next book will be about Georgia and Sam although I would love to learn more about each and every one of them. Enjoyed watching the trailer – did I see a picture of the landmark barn with diagonal siding? The directions for that trip were true North Carolina – turn where the barn burned down and then go about a mile until you see a tree! Thanks so much for introducing us to some great friends and reminding us that we all deserve second chances.

    • Emilie Richards on August 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Penny, how neat that your son is an Asheville artisan. Maybe I’ll see his work when I’m there next time. The barn is actually one we saw on the way up Doggett Mountain to Trust. I’m so glad you liked the book, and you’re definitely on the right track for the next one.

  5. Holly Moon on August 21, 2012 at 9:15 am

    First I thought Harmony, then just as quickly came Samantha.
    But then, after thinking about the title, I thought of Sally Klaver and thought, she has a story to tell as well.
    I am looking forward to the release, no matter who it is. I haven’t read one of your books, that I didn’t love.

    • Emilie Richards on August 21, 2012 at 10:24 am

      What an interesting idea to follow Sally. Hmmm. . .

  6. Dale Harcombe on August 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    I agree, interesting how the ear catches things the eyes skim over. I have to condense at the end too.

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