Matt’s back!

Enjoying Tulip Time with my oldest son and his family

Way back in January, I wrote of completing the second draft of Matthew Muddles Through and my hope to pare down its word count (you can read that post here). Since then I’ve spent most of my time concentrating on preparing presentations for an intense speaking trip (which you can read about here). But after my return and annual immersion in Pella’s Tulip Festival (picture accompanying this post), Matthew called me.

Monday I spent several satisfying hours organizing and editing the first novel. I split a couple of long chapters into two. And I whittled word counts until every chapter and the entire manuscript fit under my maximum goals.

Now I’m plunging back into the second book in the series, tentatively titled Matthew Makes Strides. It seems an appropriate time of year to work on this particular manuscript because it begins with a tornado warning. Yesterday another exciting scene flowed from my mind, through my fingers, and into the novel. I hope it comes alive some day in the minds of many young readers.

Grandson #2

I hope especially that the mind of Grandson #2 easily envisions the scene. You see, each of the three novels in the “Matthew in the Middle” series will be dedicated to one of my three oldest grandsons.

Matthew began life as a single book. That initial manuscript expanded to a series of four on the advice of a major publishing company’s acquisitions director. But when I revisited the series recently, I changed those four to three. Huge chunks of text were cut and pasted into different documents as I determined the main conflicts and time frames for each novel. This resulted in three cumbersome documents with disjointed scenes.

I’m very happy with how the first manuscript shaped up, and I’m eager to finish this project before my grandsons lose interest. My oldest grandson was the first to hear Matthew’s story and he’s asked me if I ever finished it. I want to put hard copies of bound books into the hands of these kids before they no longer care to read about a fifth grader and his problems.

And that’s why whipping Matthew into shape is on my agenda for this Fiction Friday.

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