Looking back, it’s amazing how much Worthy of Song and Story changed. It started with a simple idea, a series of books about Norse mythology, but from a different view. Not one where Odin and Thor are the heroes, but one where the hero is someone unexpected, unknown – the hidden son of Loki. With that thought, Midgard was born (that was my working title).
My first draft came through at 30,000 words and like most first drafts, it needed a lot of work. You see, I’m a pantser, which means I don’t really outline before I start writing. I come up with an idea, a few characters, and maybe jot down a couple notes of the big things I want to happen. After that, I type and let the characters do their thing. Sometimes they do a great job and sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, it’s up to me to fix their mess.
So I revised, and revised, and revised.
After completing draft four, I figured I had a good enough story to let people actually see it. That’s right, before then, no one really sees my work. Once in a while I might let a person see a chapter or two, but that’s it.
Anyway, draft four came through at 34,000 words. A reasonable length for a middle grade novel, but on the short side for a middle grade fantasy. No reason to sweat it though, I was sending it off to a free lance editor and she would make everything perfect. I’d never used one before, but it was a darn good story and I really wanted to run with it. Besides, the editing process would be easy, right?
I received a lot of really good feedback from my editor, but her opinion that my manuscript was aimed for the lower end of the middle grade spectrum really struck me. I have nothing against that range, but that wasn’t where I pictured the book. Especially with the future installments bouncing around in my head.
After a substantial rewrite, and aging up the story, I sent it back to my editor. This time, the feedback came back more in line with what I hoped for initially. She liked the changes and thought it read more like an upper middle grade story. Hooray!
Time for one more round of edits and off to the query trenches, contests, and conferences with my now 47,000 word manuscript. I’m a strong believer that pitching a book takes timing. Not timing in how you say it, which it does, but timing on when you do it. The book needs to get to the right agent/publisher at the right time. Lucky for me, mine did. All I needed to do was sit back and wait for it to be published. After all, I wrote the perfect book.
To my surprise, there were a lot of changes. First, a title change from Midgard to Worthy of Song and Story. Then came the rounds of editing. When all was said and done, my 30,000 word story named Midgard matured to a 56,000 word, soon to be released novel, titled Worthy of Song and Story.