Those of you who’ve been reading since the beginning know of my issues with writing too much and then not being able to edit later. Well, I think I’ve had a breakthrough. When I finished the first draft, I had upwards of 250,000 words. My goal for this book was to get it down to a (still long by industry standards) 175,000 words. I’ve ruthlessly annihilated many of the things I once found ‘necessary’ to the plot, and destroyed every bit of superfluous fluff I laid eyes on. I’m thirty-five chapters down, and have thirty-three to go.
My current total of words in the edited portion is just over a hundred thousand. The un-edited remainder — (gasp) a mere sixty thousand! I’m actually under my goal for the first time in my life.
Before I get too self-congratulatory, I need to remember there’s an ending I have to totally re-write. And you can be pretty damn sure I’ll shoot myself in the foot again while I’m doing it. My fingers will click out a flowing saga, and I’ll be faced with twenty thousand words over what I’d intended. Then, it will be back to chopping and hacking.
But, I really don’t think I could do it any other way; I seem to need that excess to move around and shape to my liking. It’s sort of like re-arranging the letters on one of those roadside signs – the more words up there, the bigger the creative license one can have in putting them back in an altered state.*
Whatever the reasoning behind my affection for word-overkill, though, I’m relieved to find out I can manage it.
*This statement does not imply the author encourages, condones or participates in the humorous editing of public messages in any form.
That would be wrong.