A few days ago, I pulled out my outline for What’s Up, Chuck? If I’m going to have it ready to submit by the end of August, I had better get to work.
I hadn’t worked on a new chapter for a while so I didn’t actually remember what chapter I was writing. It turned out to be chapter 4. Cool. That puts me at just under half way since I told the editor there were 10 chapters. Actually, she asked if there were ten and I said, “Yes!”
Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t remember numbers. Phone numbers, house numbers, room numbers, number of chapters. Pbbt.
According to the outline, there will be 7. That’s great in terms of the fact that I am over half way. That’s not so great if the editor really and truly wants 10.
Just how important is it that there be 10 chapters? It depends.
If I was working on a book for an ABDO series, the number of chapters would be important. After all, these are books published in series which means that each book needs to cover similar things. The format needs to be the same. This means that the number of chapters need to be close if not the same.
But this isn’t for a series. Does that mean I can completely ignore “10 chapters”?
Unfortunately, maybe not. There is always the chance that the editor knows how many chapters work well in this kind of format (a picture story book). She is, after all, the one with the experience in taking a piece from manuscript to finished book.
I should probably attempt 10 if I can divide things up in such a way that it feels natural. If it doesn’t feel natural, then I’ll have to go with a different number of chapters. Fortunately, I’ve already spotted a few changes that I can make to expand the number of chapters. It’s all in how I group the information.
For now, I’m going to focus on drafting the whole. Once I have a complete draft, I can play around with how I group the information. I’ll try for 10 chapters if it works. If not, we shall see what we shall see.