By Jonene Ficklin
I've never had this problem before and I'm a little blown away.
My current WIP has two story lines that come together at the end. I asked three writing friends to read it and give honest feedback, sparing no feelings.
What an awesome experience! (Thanks a million, gals!) I learned which parts don't work. They let me know the parts they wished were different, or needed serious changes. It was interesting, because all of them liked one of the story lines, but felt the other needed work.
So, off to work I went.
I rewrote the entire ending. Again.
And when I was done, my novel was 108,000 words.
Yikes! It used to be 97,000. (It's a serious no-no to submit anything over 100,000 words, even in adult fiction.)
I'm not a horror fan, but I have read Stephen King's book, ON WRITING. He recommends cutting at least 10 percent after your first draft. That's just about where I am now, except this manuscript is several drafts down the line. It's been cleaned, chopped, and tightened many times before.
Still, that's not good enough.
So I'm putting my story on a serious diet. I'm cutting out all unnecessary words. I'm hacking out every single part that doesn't speed the plot along. I'm being ruthless, and boy, am I learning a lot. Rebecca is right on with her weeding analogy!
You know, a story diet is just as hard as the real thing. Each evening, my brain feels like butter in a hot frying pan. But . . . right now, I'm down 3,000 words and I'm not even a quarter of the way in.
Is that how you feel when you put your story on a diet? Any advice?