I usually give my writing group my manuscript first, in pieces. But I didn't want to wait to give it to them in chunks, so I went ahead and gave a first draft to three people: my two sisters and my friend, Sandra. I knew these guys would be blunt. They'd tell me if they liked it, but also give actual feedback, so that I can make the draft I give my writing group even better. I have plans to give the book to two more people (yes Barbara, that means you) but I want to clean it up a bit and fill in some holes before I give it to anyone else (if anyone else out there wants it and is willing to read it within two weeks or so, please say so. I'll send it to you! Your feedback doesn't need to be extensive.). Plus, the word count needs to increase.
I bet that's something you've never worried about. Up until now, I didn't either. I usually sit down, write the story, go back and fill things in, and the word count takes care of itself. But the stories I've written so far have been middle grade and young adult fiction; genres that require fewer words. This latest novel is women's fiction, and if I actually want to sell it someday, I believe the number of words needs to increase by at least 15,000.
I'm sure this can happen; I'm sure it will happen. I've got places where adjectives are needed, where more internal thought should be, where action and description of the setting are mandatory. The only thing that bothers me is that instead of concentrating on making sure the story is good, I am now worried about something as silly as numbers.
And I know, in my heart, that numbers aren't everything.