After completing the first draft of the story of Anna Olson in December of 2012, I had a huge document, almost 200,000 words long! I’m not sure how many pages that translated to but those were a lot of words. It was cumbersome and wordy and need to be trimmed down. For one thing, I included un-needed material on Anna’s parents growing up in Norway, how they met, and why they came to the US. One person commented the story was nice, but what about Anna Olson, my protagonist? When was I going to get to her?
I cut, pasted, reorganized, removed sections, and divided the story into three major topics. One section, approximately 85,000 words, described her institutionalized life. I recognized this as the novel I first set out to write. Isolated in America was born. This book has been read by several readers and their comments and suggestions incorporated where appropriate. I believe I’ve edited and revised Isolated in America to the best of my ability. Now I begin the search for a publisher.
Another topic (about 60,000 words) described how Anna grew up, the eugenics movement, how society marginalizes people who are different, and why she ended up in an institution. This manuscript is my second novel and called Girl on the Edge. Currently I am re-reading and editing Girl on the Edge and I hope to be ready to send it out to anyone who would like to read the draft sometime around first of July.
The third topic (approximately 50,000 words) told the story of her life after her discharge. Right now, this book is known as Breaking Bonds. After the shackles of institutionalization were broken, Anna was free to realize a potential beyond even her wildest dreams. I believe the major framework is completed but the first complete draft will likely need to wait until late this year or early next. Be sure to check out the Novel tab on my website www.kirbynielsen.com and get a synopsis for each book.