I finished my first draft of EMPOWERED, and it is underweight at just 70,000 words.
I've never had this happen before.
Usually my first draft comes in at over 100K words, and much of the editing process is devoted to cutting out repetition and exteraneous elements (usually ones that sounded on point, or I thought were funny) in the beginning. Of course, I do add some material -- normally descriptions of characters or settings -- but those additions ususally don't amount to much.
So what do I do?
I could go in an deepen the story at the beginning. I could provide more backstory. For example, in EMPOWERED, the main character already has some flashbacks to business lessons he learned from his mentor. I could add more of these. But I worry that this might slow down the pace, and if there's one thing I don't want in my novels, its flat spots.
I could add a secondary plot. Well, perhaps it would be a tertiary plot -- there's already a secondary one present. This can also slow things down, but tied in correctly, it could add some additional drama and provide some additional tension.
Or I could add a few twists -- that worked well in LEVERAGE, and really EMPOWERED in its current form might be a bit too...transparent. I like my readers guessing, rather than knowing what might happen next.
But it is a quantry and a strange place to find myself in...