Lessons from a 5-Year-Old Manuscript

I used to be wordy. Really wordy. My wordiness knew no bounds, I'm afraid.

Write1Sub1 has helped to curb that tendency (writing and submitting a short story every week doesn't leave much room for loquaciousness), but I still see it crop up every now and then like an ugly pimple. Which is why I value my editors so much. Not only do they want to buy my work and sell my work, but they want to help make it the best it can be. What a deal!

Before my novel Progeny could be ready for the submission circuit, I had to make sure it was at its best—pre-editor. I wrote this manuscript way back in 2010, and it was the last of my pre-W1S1 novel-length projects. The three novels I've written since participating in W1S1 have been lighter and tighter thanks to all those months in the short fiction trenches. But 5 years ago? Not so much.

At 145,000 words (500 pages or so), Progeny clocked in as my longest novel to date. All those words did not make it magnificent, however. Instead, they made editing the beast a real chore as I had to tighten virtually every sentence, resulting in 15,000 total words cut over the past two months. Yep, I've been a busy bee, but assigning myself 10 pages a day made it manageable.

The result? I can honestly say this manuscript is the best it's ever been. After sitting on the back burner for so long, scowling at me, now it's finally ready to go…almost. I'll have to wait until an agent picks up After the Sky before I can say, "Hey-uh, I also have this sequel…" And since Progeny ends with a sequel-demanding cliffhanger, an epic, post-apocalyptic fantasy trilogy might be in my future.

What do you think? Should I start writing the third book now or wait for that prospective agent's input? Or maybe see what my mom has to say about it? Happy Mother's Day!