Journey of a Novella

Several years ago, I started a novel set in Juneau in 1886, intending it to be a prequel for my novel Fools Gold. I did research and worked on a draft, but it didn’t gel like I hoped it would, and I set it aside. More recently, I knit the best scenes together into a short story.


Fast forward to this year and I submitted to Prism Book Group. They accepted the manuscript, and I asked if they wanted to see the whole Gold Rush series. They said yes. So I submitted the short story and four novels. Once we started to work on Fools Gold, I suggested the short story might be a good “freebie” to get people interested. Editor Jacqueline Hopper read it and suggested I flesh it out to make it a novella. So that’s what I’ve been doing. The tentative title is “Worth Her Weight in Gold.”


I had a pretty good idea who Ada and Tom were, and a few scenes I could revise and plug into the story. That was the easy part. Now I’m in the next phase, adding new scenes and adding to the characters so you get to know them and their motivations better. The last stage will be revision and editing, smoothing out the scenes and getting the wording right. For me, that’s usually the hardest part. I have a difficult time holding many ideas in my head at once, so I can’t go through and catch everything on the first or second pass. I’ll look at plot points in one draft, go for wordsmithing in the next draft, then grammar and so on. So it takes time. It helps that I have Jacqueline for support. Her editing will be valuable as we get the novella ready for prime time.


What process works for you? Do you get stuck on a blank page, or is revision your writing challenge?

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I love to share my passion for Alaska and its history in my writing for young adults and their grown ups.


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