This past Saturday, I edited for fourteen hours. OK, actually it was about twelve, if you count time off for breaks and meals. I sat in my bed with my laptop and read and edited, read some more and edited some more.
I was cutting my wordcount.
After I had finished my rewrites on Friday, I discovered that I was 1100 words over my absolute maximum, a maximum which had to include my acknowledgments and a brief historical afterword. So 1100 words had to go.
By ferociously line-editing to cut unnecessary words from each sentence, I was able to chop 1100 words. I figured I had to cut an average of three words per page. It was surprisingly easy.
Then I chopped 535 more.
That's right, 1,635 unnecessary words in the manuscript.
Now I am left with 535 precious unused words of my wordcount. I have to add two more sentences, so I figure I'll have 500 unused words. And I'll send in my revised manuscript today (Monday).
I feel good about the edits.
If we had no maximum wordcount, it would be easy to do edits. We could add everything our editors wanted in glorious Technicolor, lavish as a Cecil B. DeMille epic.
But, in the real world, where bigger, fatter books are more expensive to print, we have to make choices. And I am happy with the choices I made, and still grateful for my editors' suggestions and the ways in which my revisions will improve my debut novel.
What's the wordcount goal for your current WIP? Does that match with the norms of your genre? And is there a certain length novel that you usually like to read? I usually read novels between 90,000 and 105,000 words (about 300-350 pages). The other day I read one that I would guess was only about 45,000 (150 pages). Wow, that was a funny feeling, but kind of refreshing!
P.S. The look of this blog will be changing soon to match my new website! Stay tuned...