June 8, 2009

Revising, revising, revising (or how to lose 17,000 words from your first draft)

So, when my editor said that the word count for my book was way too long, I wasn't precious about it. That's her job, after all, let her edit to her heart's content. Except it turns out it's me who has to choose those 17,000 words.

The first 10,000 were surprisingly easy. So many sloppy, longwinded or just plain unnecessary scenes. But after shortening, changing and just plain deleting all of those, I've still got 7000 words to go, and that means it's time to start making some hard decisions.

I know the book will be better for losing its flab, but I've reached the point where it's getting personal - anything I chop now is going to hurt a bit. Will I have to lose a character (the nice, quiet librarian with a secret penchant for punk? the bad-joke cracking Scottish maths teacher?)? Or cut a sub plot? Is there part of the back story we don't need to know? And why am I procrastinating here instead of working on it??

ETA - got the *(%&#^#$ thing down to 60,600 words before I had to admit defeat and send it back to my editor. Hopefully she'll be able to suggest some ruthless slashing and burning...

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