The agent was clear: writing good, length bad. The challenge: add 20,000 words. What to do, what to do? Add a character or two? Maybe. Wax eloquent about the dust motes floating in the sunlight? Maybe again. Describe a room in more detail than necessary? (“The book on his desk was old, the spine broken, the jacket long gone, the gold lettering mostly flaked off, making it almost impossible to make out the author’s name, which upon closer inspection was Thackeray, something called Vanity Fair, which struck Louise as an odd thing for this man to be reading. But certainly no more odd than the silver thimble next to the book, which reminded Louise of her Aunt Tilly, a woman famous for her needle work and thick ankles.”) Um, probably not. Change the story line? No, definitely no.
Well, I won’t give that away, at least not yet. However, my interstitial word implants have already reduced the challenge to 18,383 words, and they’ve done so without interfering with the plot or the pace of the story.
Back to the keyboard!