I can’t say exactly how many words I’ve written these past two days. After taking a break over the holidays (and well into the new year), I finally got back to the middle-grade novel I started in November. I had 9,000 words written then. I have 12,000 now.

But it’s not as easy as 12-9=3,000 words. The reason for the extra long break was I knew the story wasn’t working. I knew something was wrong, but not what that something was. I suspected I would have to get rid of a lot of words, and I didn’t want to do it.

In particular, I suspected the beginning as I had written it was not the beginning at all. That’s a common writing problem. Sometimes I have to write my way into the story. This time, I had to cut 7,000 words off the top.

That’s a tough thing to do. It left me with only 3,000 words written. But there were a lot of good character moments in those 7,000 words, so I put them in another document, and started writing again.

As I did, I found places to add those moments back into the story. I read from the new beginning and inserted old scenes, now flashbacks. I deleted a lot, but I also wrote a lot more.

When I began this novel in November, it was barely an idea. I only knew that I felt more capable of writing than I had felt in years. I had to try something. It took more words than I anticipated, with more to go (my goal is 15,000; maybe 20,000?) that I hope to write this weekend.

But this story is turning into something good. Something I feel good about. Something I’m almost ready to share with a few trusted readers.

From there, we’ll see.