Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hack n Slash Saturday

Originally The Kindrily was over 140k words--well over--when I finished the first draft. That's ridiculously long in the world of publishing. Absurdly long in the world of Young Adult novels.

So the hack and slash process started in March and it's gradually been lowered to about 117k. There are days when I have to take a break from my manuscript so when I do come back to it for the next edit, my eyes are fresh. I know the book by heart so my mind doesn't pick up all the errors like it should.

For writers who say "my word count is high but there's nothing I can cut," trust me; yes there is. Look for your crutch words or phrases. Mine were "I noticed, I realized, I couldn't believe, I heard." After I took out a bunch of those my story got tighter and voila, word count drops. Then go back and look for unnecessary adverbs, "very, actually, completely, really, etc." I promise you, they are there, and many are begging to be deleted. Your characters (and readers) will thank you for it.

I'm no pro, so take my advice with a grain of sea salt (it is the best kind). I'm just sharing what has worked for me. Today the majority of my Saturday will be spent doing another round of hack and slash on my manny. The great part is that it's not losing anything. It's only getting better; cleaner, tighter, faster, stronger. Did anyone else just hear the Daft Punk song Better, Harder, Faster, Stronger when they read that? Makes me wanna dance. Wait, no, dance class is tomorrow. Today I'm getting out my axe, samurai sword, and machete in hopes of reaching 115k. Actually 110k would be better but I'm in a realistic kind of mindeset today. Oh and don't worry, the above mentioned weapons are artistic tools because I use them with tender loving care.


  1. Care to pass me some of your word count? It would really speed me along. Well, then again, if all you can send is "I noticed, I realized, I couldn't believe, I heard" and a bunch of rejected adverbs, I might be better off without them.
    I'm actually already cutting a bunch from my rough draft right now, tightening my storyline and focus. So instead of my word count going up, it's falling significantly today.

    BTW - there's a great forum at that can help with your query process. Their tough, but really helpful.

    Have a great weekend!

  2. My book is almost 160 thousand words but its a historical romance. Do you think its to high?

    Thank you. Jasmine

  3. Hi Jasmine,

    I've heard Historical Fiction can be a little longer but romance genre is still in that 80-100k range. If you're a first time author 160k is too high. I'm no expert though. There are plenty of agent blogs, articles etc where you can find answers from agents, publisher's etc. Good luck!

  4. Ooh, so how low did you get it? I'm dying to know now! :D

  5. 114,700 and still working on it. :)


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