What to cut
I'm on the home stretch for this edit, which means good things and bad alike. First off, the story is looking great. Initial reads are positive and the changes seem to be helping. I'm happy to streamline so much and cut out the chaff, but that leads to the next problem. I haven't cut enough. Not even close.
At the rate I'm going, a generous estimate is that I'll shave off another 5,000 words. I need to shave off closer to 15,000. I'm looking at the page count coming down and down as I reach closer and closer to the end, but that word count is still atrociously high. Now, some of my readers have said they like it this length. They don't think anything was particularly excess and, for fantasy, that's to be expected. There's an entire world to build, so novels like mine tend to tip the scales a bit. Unfortunately, as I've said before, publishers aren't keen on taking a chance with such a high word count. More words equals higher printing costs.
This isn't an issue if I decide to self-publish. E-books can be huge and I can dictate the price. No one cares if an e-book is too massive because it's the same cost, either way. And, from what I've been told, print doesn't make up a big part of a book's profit these days, anyway. Everyone seems to be doing digital. Nice to know if things go south on this traditional publishing route.
Still, I need to cut words, so here's what I'm looking at. I need to go back into the work, right out every scene's synopsis again (since a lot have changed in this edit) and set them all out on a board. It's like when I was storyboarding at the beginning of this novel. Only this time, I'm figuring out what the plot can stand to lose.
Each of these cards or sticky notes will have a synopsis, characters, and major plot elements that are revealed labeled on them. Heck, I might even put the word count for each on there, too. Then I'll have to sort through each scene and peel away the ones that I can afford to lose without affecting the story.
It's painful. It's tedious. It's nowhere near as fun as writing. But I need to do this so I can move forward. And, hey, once I'm rich and famous, I'll have access to free editors who'll focus on this stuff so I can focus on writing, right?
Don't Forget to be Awesome!
Leave a Reply.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.