Hosted by Kate Martin
"Writing is like a spider web -- what isn't there is just as important as what is." ~Janet Reid
Cutting your novel down to a manageable level can be daunting. Where do you start?
1. Do large cuts first:
- Full chapters -- Cut and/or combine chapters that are slow, unnecessary, or don't move the plot along. Also, start the story later so that earlier "backstory" chapters can be cut.
- Minor characters -- Give secondary roles to bigger characters -- if it fits with the characterization.
- Sub-plots -- if they're not necessary to the overall plot/theme, you can probably cut.
2. Paragraphs and Scenes:
- Redundant scenes -- if you have duplicate scenes that serve the same purpose, cut them or combine them.
- Repetitive narrative/dialogue -- if you've said it once already, no need to say it again.
3. Sentence by Sentence and Word by Word
- "That" and "just" are unnecessary words
- Cut as many dialogue tags as possible
- Don't be afraid of simple words -- instantly vs. without another thought
- You don't need to give every little detail -- readers' minds will fill in the blanks.
Other Tips & Tricks:
- Cut once on your own.
- Then give it to someone you trust to cut it. When you get their cuts back, YOU cut again.
- Only edit/cut for an hour or hour and a half at a time.
- Edit by hand
- You might have to add scenes to clarify/compensate for some of the stuff you've cut. That's okay, just remember: you're trying to cut down your word count. Always keep that in your mind.
- Keep a notebook next to your computer to jot down notes and ideas.