Thursday, August 21, 2008

Words


I have too many words.

Quite literally.

I am less than 60 pages from finishing my massive edit of my manuscript. Previous to my edit, my book was approximately 97,700 words.

I know that the usual trade-length book is 80-90K words, but I figured a little over wasn't too bad. I would probably cut things in my edit, which I did.

What I hadn't counted on was adding words. On a whim, I checked my word count the other day. It was now OVER 100K words.

Erch. Problem. My book can't be that long! (Literary Agent, Terry Whalin, has preached this principle many times on his blog. I'm trying to heed it...)

*Sniffle* This means I have to cut something. And that sounds like NO fun.

How do I accomplish this?
A few ways:
I tend to use too many words, and phrases when I write. I know this is a problem, and I'm working on it. There are alot of just unneeded words that can be trimmed to make my writing tighter and easier to read. I'm working on that.

There are also a few scenes I can cut, or at the least condense considerably. I don't write scenes for the fun of it. All of them have a specific purpose to move the plot or theme forward. Some, of course, have less of an impact than the others. Those are the ones I need to focus on deleting or condensing.

For now, I will focus on finishing my final edit, and tightening up my first three chapters before conference. Word count trimming may need to be an after conference project, but I'm confident I can at least get it under 95K, if not under 90.

On a side note, I'm still procrastinating on preparing my pitch. Not good, I know. *Gulp*

Anyone else have any tips for reducing word count?

1 comment:

Amy Deardon said...

Hi Krista, Congratulations on finishing your ms! What an accomplishment.

I cut my ms from (first draft) 117,000 to (final) 92,000 words, and only 3 scenes. The trick is to remove ANYTHING that doesn't contribute. For one edit, I searched for "ly" and got rid of almost all adverbs. Another search I took out almost all "said's" Another search I found every passive voice and reworded most to active voice. Get rid of every "step by step" (minute and unnecessary descriptions of actions) that you find. You may have to go over the ms five or six times, but it will be so much tighter and better when you're done!

Haven't been in touch after the conference -- lots going on, but I'm coming back online now. Hope you're well!