I have been thinking about Cousin of the Crown lately. I wrote it with the intention of it being a sort of narrow story, with only a few characters and a plot that stays nice and tight. However, it's kind of a weird length at 30,000 words.
That's too long for a 'novella' and too short for a 'real novel.' So, when I go around looking at different submission requirements, it doesn't really fit into anything. Submitting stories to magazines and journals and things is good way to get feedback and maybe get in print. And win awards, which is always fun.
So, do I wade through the plot mercilessly and chop out bits to shorten it up? Or, do I think of ways to flesh out the story, make it take a little longer, maybe give more history as to why the countries have been fighting? More drama in the palace while Terran is thought to be dead? A coup? A kidnapping?
Oooohhh...does Lahdel have the baby before Terran gets back? Or maybe Terran is declared dead and Gulin and Lahdel get married! There's all sorts of wonderfully dramatic things I could do.
I suppose I just answered my own question. Making it longer seems to me to be easier than shortening it up. Many bits of it already feel rushed to me.
500 WC Chapter Sixteen
Word Count: 627
I don't think I need to repeat my whole disclaimer, so will summarize with: I no absolutely nothing about things pertinent to this plot and am making up facts as I go. Be sure to go back and read a few previous chapters if you're lost. They're short. :)
Until she came down for dinner.
He choked on his drink, coughing.
His aunt and uncle were telling him all about their time on the Mediterranean. He gaped over their heads as Renee slipped into the living room.
Selene saw his face and turned. “Ah, Renee darling.”
“Selene.” Renee went to her and took her outstretched hands. “And this must be Uncle Ivan.”
The man stood and bowed over her hand, kissing it. “I am very pleased to meet you, Renee.” Renee blushed prettily as Ivan beamed at her, moving to sit next to Colton. He eased away from where her thigh touched his.
She entered the conversation, giving him a moment to gather his thoughts. They had scattered, like water dropped in a hot skillet as she’d walked in, leaving him speechless.
Rosa was wrong. She was gorgeous.
Colton shook himself, blinking. She wasn’t gorgeous. She was cute, dressed up to be beautiful. Where Mancini had rummaged up a cocktail dress in the scant hours between his aunts visits was beyond him. But Renee was wearing it, a flaring red thing that made her creamy skin glow.
Colton dragged his attention back to the topic at hand.
“The doctor said I could take them out in a day or two,” Renee said, indicating her stitched forehead. “It doesn’t really hurt anymore. Just stings.”
“I can’t believe it!” Selene said, her hand at her heart. “How terrified you must have been!”
“Yes,” Renee said with a laugh. “But I was more furious than anything. I didn’t even think. I just saw him open his jacket and…” she shrugged. “I figured if I was going to die, I’d better do it fighting.”
Rosa saved Colton from trying to find anything to say as the three of them talked. His voice was missing somewhere.
“Dinner, Mr. Savage.”
Renee pulled him to his feet, tucking her hand into his elbow. The dining room was lit softly, the summer sun coloring the walls pinkish red.
Colton couldn’t get dinner over fast enough. But then, they’d go to bed. They would go to his bed.
He drained his glass again. It wasn’t helping.
Ivan started in on the Corporation, asking Colton questions about the factories in China. Colton seized on the topic eagerly, though he watched where Renee and Selene whispered together with unease. They flicked him glances every now and then. It was very alarming.
Finally, Selene yawned and Ivan claimed he’d had enough business talk for the night.
Renee kissed them both and disappeared upstairs.
“I like her,” Selene said, squeezing her nephew’s hand. “You are a lucky man.”
“Yes.” Colton agreed.
Ivan elbowed him, grinning lewdly. “Lovely little thing, isn’t she?”
Colton’s smile was forced, but they just laughed. He excused himself, knowing they would just tease him until he retreated, red cheeked.
He blushed anyway as he climbed the stairs.
The shower was running, the door shut and, he was sure, locked. He stripped out of his shirt and tie, rummaging in a drawer for something to wear to bed. He didn’t usually wear anything, but he doubted Renee would appreciate that. He shuddered imagining her reaction and tugged an old teeshirt over his head.
He was staring at the bed, wondering if he should sleep on the floor, when Renee came out in a cloud of steam. She was dressed for bed, too, a teeshirt and athletic shorts. She saw his frown and laughed.
“We can share a bed, Colton.” She said, grinning. “Its big enough, anyway. Besides, you’re still sore from the explosion.”
He nodded, moving to slide beneath the sheets. He really didn’t want to do this.
She lay down and flipped of the light next to her head. “’Night.” She said, yawning.