Revision is a Sexy Bitch

Cracking down on the manuscript this week like a BAWSS!

Upon deciding to query a fiend’s Literary Agent, I did some final research into the best way to query (when you DON’T have name dropping options, just to be as professional about the whole shebang as possible).

WELL! I discovered that as a first time novelist, many Agents will be looking for a manuscript that comes in at a word count NO HIGHER than 110,000 – 120,000 words. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I was coming in at 144,861 words.

Yes my friends, I had a lot to say. (That’s nothing. My first novel is around 177,000. It IS Fantasy, to an extent, but still.)

So, I went to work. My goal – cut the word count to 120,000 or lower. It seemed a daunting task, but I was determined to give a good college try.

I’m less than halfway through the manuscript in four days, and I’ve cut 16,888 words. The best part, I am certain the cuts have made it a better book. Of course, I am my harshest critic, I would venture.

It isn’t the easiest thing in the world, to be sure. There are scenes that don’t ‘propel’ the story, don’t reveal more than a person’s inner workings, the intricacies of relationship, of history. I have marked scenes that fit that bill, in case I need to cut further at the finish line, but truth be told, I’m not sure I want to cut them. Is the quiet moment in a person’s heart not equally worthy to the moments watching them ride into battle? (Not that there’s a lot of battle scenes in a book about an unemployed Cartoonist, but whatever.)

So at this rate, we may see a novel that comes in at UNDER 100,000 words by the time I am done with these edits. Odd that in having trudged away everyday to make my word count for a year and half, I am now just as pleased by ever word I cut.

It’s hard work. As Stephen King says, Kill Your Darlings, trim 10% before you consider it done. I’ve gone above and beyond 10% at this point, and see myself cracking 20% by the finish line.

I feel revealed. I feel restored, released! I thought this process would be a much harder prospect, but I’d say it’s almost as worthwhile and rewarding as the peeling of an orange. You could eat it with the peel if you’re in a hurry, but I venture to say taking the time to reveal the fruit is worth it.

Here’s a video of the song that will play at the closing credits of the FILM version of my book. When it’s made. Because, as you’ve learned by now, I control the universe with my mind.

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