The never ever ever ending story

When I was a kid, we lived on a windy hill where there were very few houses. It was perfect for kite-flying. Usually my dad made my kites out of sticks and brown paper. It was his specialty. They were wonderful, but they never flew very high. So one day I decided to buy a fancy plastic kite. It was bright blue with a yellow tail. And it flew so high, that I could barely see it. Then the wind whipped the string out of my hand. I chased my kite and the just-out-of-reach string down the hill, but the kite was strong and the wind was faster, and I wound up out of breath at the bottom of the hill watching my kite fly out to sea.

Today I’m thinking about that blue kite with the yellow tail because my novel is getting away from me. Now at 60,000+ words and no end in sight, I feel like I’m chasing the string again. It’s there just beyond my fingers. So I’m running downhill, and the story is ahead of me hurtling toward something… is it freedom? Or is it just a runaway story that needs whipping back into shape?

So much for that outline I was so proud of back in September. So much for all the pride and superiority I felt over my domain of this story. Now I’m just a kid again. Out of breath. Frustrated. Wondering where is this all going to lead?

After I lost my fancy blue kite my dad bought another one. This one got away from me too, but someone caught the string and brought it back to me. I was grateful that I got to fly that kite many more times, but it’s the one that got away that I always remember. If I could have grabbed hold of that string, and it took me along, where would we have ended up?

And if this story is taking me on a wild ride, should I just let it?

2 thoughts on “The never ever ever ending story

  1. Mandi Kang says:

    I think it depends on what type of novel you are writing. A romance, no, you should chop and edit because romances are (usually) short. You will never sell a manuscript if it’s going to be more than, say, 100,000 words. A scifi? A fantasy? Then you are only halfway done! But if your novel’s genre doesn’t have a guideline, then it finishes when it finishes. Because that’s what the “second draft” is called.

  2. Tracey says:

    Thanks for commenting, Mandi. This story is YA fantasy, which means it can vary from a low-end 60,000 words up into the 100,000s. What I’m most worried about though, is the story getting too unwieldy and needing to be reigned in a little, but as you say, that’s what the second draft is for.

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