Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It's a cinch

Can a novel that once came sprawling in at 325,000 words ever drop below the 130,000 mark? Stay tuned....

This has been a tough edit, and fast, and I've fallen asleep over the pages more than once in the past week. My brain is a bit mushy, and the most I did to celebrate the 4th was here on this blog, but by golly I'm about 2/3 of the way through this manuscript for the... I don't know, TWENTIETH? time, and I'm terribly, happily excited to see Kindred about to go below 130K!



  2. Anonymous9:22 AM

    Wow! I'm curious, how are you cutting it down? Split into two or three books, or just paring down the original?
    My first novel came in at around 160,000 and I split it into two books.
    Best wishes on your "cinching",

  3. Great news. You've been working so diligently on this. Keep on plugging away!

  4. Christi, I tried to split it, but the first half didn't have a satisfying conclusion. It felt like a book that had been randomly lopped in two no matter how I tried to tweak things.

    So what I've done is basically the same thing, over and over again each time I've come at this monster novel to slim it down. Start with the big picture and look at every plot turn and if it can be taken out without damaging the story, then out it goes. Then every subplot... can it be shortened or removed? Every secondary character... are they really necessary? Then every scene... can the story be told without it? Or can I tell the scene in a few sentences instead of taking pages to show it? There were quite a few that didn't need to be shown that way.*

    Oh, and back story. I try to pare that down so only as much as the reader MUST know is left. All the rest I want to tell goes into a Cuts File. I've never deleted any of this, btw. It's all saved, somewhere.

    Okay, then after the macro stuff is dealt with, I move on to scrutinizing every paragraph, every sentence, every phrase, every word. Can something be reworded more concisely or simply axed?

    *I know showing over telling is supposed to be the "rule." But I tend to show everything, and for me editing a finished draft is largely about figuring out what doesn't really need to be shown to tell the story.

    I'm also working very hard to plot my current WIP more tightly, so this process is far less painful in future!

  5. Thanks for the cheers, Ruth, Carla and Christi! I'm in the last section of the book now. Why is it so hard after lunch to fight off the sleepies? :)