Thursday, March 24, 2011

CUT! Tightening the Story and Reducing Word Count

I'm so close to finishing my current rewrite of RESET. So close, in fact, that the ending is already written and all I need to do is tie up the last loose ends. (This sounds easy but in fact is not!)

The funny (or depressing) thing about each of these rewrites is that they all felt like a first draft. My characters continue to drop bombs that wreck my plot and I find myself adding or remove entire scenes to have things continually moving forward.

So, yeah.

I've cut a whole lot from that 110,000 word first draft from hell. I mean, seriously, what agent is going to go within a hundred miles of a newbie writer with a 110,000 word paranormal romance manuscript?

You really want to know? Read this post on the subject at Guide to Literary Agents and this one as well as this one at Book Ends, LLC.

This 4th rewrite of my own manuscript is going to top out at approx 85,000 words. I've now crossed off one reason it might be rejected when it comes time to query!

How did I cut 25,000 words? Well, as I said, when my characters dropped those bombs, my plot changed - became tighter. I cut a whole bunch of redundant scenes. I dropped a handful of characters who were unimportant. I dropped a few stages (locations) and merged other world-building stuff together to make the thing a whole lot easier to read.

But doesn't it suck to get rid of all that work?

Doesn't it hurt to know you wrote all those scenes and developed all those extra characters for nothing? No!

Because nothing was written 'for nothing'. In my long-winded first draft, I got to know lots about the world, the characters and the plot... Stuff that's now (I hope) hidden between the lines!

When I begin my read-through and revision of this particular draft, I'll also be looking for ways to tighten my writing, lose useless adjectives and all that editing stuff. Perhaps I'll cut an additional few thousand words. Who knows?

Do you have a really long first draft and now are stumped with how to revise it? Have a look at what Janice Hardy says on her blog (links below). And if you don't regularly read her posts, you should. It's like taking a really amazing online creative writing course... For free!

Happy chopping!

Janice Hardy's posts on word count: HERE, HERE and HERE.

1 comment:

  1. I'm having to "add to" a manuscript and that has created a new book...