Drafts and drafts and drafts
With all the words I apparently need to cut from The Paladin, I'm wondering if rewriting from scratch with the current manuscript as a guide is more advisable than a line by line edit. So much has to go to meet that word count cut off that I'm going to be losing a lot of little details, details that will kill proper continuity if they aren't managed correctly.
And yet, the prospect of rewriting the entire manuscript, word by word, chapter by chapter is daunting. It feels like so much time was or will be wasted. I know I can more or less copy and paste whole sections, but... I don't know. It's just discouraging to think of how many years I've been working on this, how many edits I've made, how many versions beta readers have gone through (and liked!) all to just start over with a blank page.
I know it's not like I'm losing the manuscript either way. All that work isn't gone and nothing is lost. But there's a psychological wall, a barrier that's hard to surmount in the form of a blank page. If this was a new story, I'd be jazzed at the blank page. But for the seventh time rewriting The Paladin, I just don't know.
Really, this is all just a vent. One way or the other, I'm going to need to do some heavy word cutting and probably a decent amount of editing. That'll necessitate a whole new round of beta readers to make sure the version actually stands up. Which means if I decide on this route, it could be months or even a year before I send out my next query letter again.
But that's what I have to do, I suppose. I want to see this published and if agents won't look at it as is, I need to be ready to modify it. Does that mean I'm compromising something as an artist? I don't know. Edits are part of the process. They're good. No one worth their salt every put out a first draft. But I wonder if the Tolkien we read today was his seventh draft...
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.