Killing your darlings...
So today was another day of going chapter by chapter, line by line, and deciding what parts of it absolutely, positively don't need to stay in the final version. It's called (both in writing and in my former career of editing video) killing your darlings.
As a writer, you tend to think that everything you put out is gold. Or if not gold, at least crucial to the overall plot. Sadly, that's almost never the truth. For the sake of the reader (and the sake of publishers who don't want to pay extra money for pages that don't need to be in your book!) a good writer has to go back through and remove a lot of stuff. For me, it starts with a simple word cut.
My genre, Urban Fantasy, is one of the genres that actually allows a pretty lengthy book. After all, it takes time to build a world, right? I've heard agents who are okay with up to a 150,000 words, but the general limit for a debut novel in my genre seems to be 110,000. Currently The Paladin sits at 143,865 words.
Let me put that in perspective for anyone who asks how many pages that is. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's/Philosopher's Stone was JK Rowling's debut novel and came in at 76,944. I'm sure a lot of people wished it had been longer, but I doubt her publisher wanted to spend the extra dosh on an unknown author. You'll notice, however, that by the time she got to book 7, it ballooned to 198,227. Heck, Order of the Phoenix had 257,045!
Point is... I'm untested and unknown at this point, so I really have to make my words count. So, unlike this blog post, my book is getting more and more succinct with every passing day.
On a completely unrelated note, if you're in the mood for nerd debates, you should check out my friend Miles' podcast Smash Fiction. The bring the art of BS to a new level.
Click to check them out!
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.