Second Draft Finished!

As of this weekend, I have finished draft #2 of my first novel, Merlin’s Blade, which is book one of the Merlin Spiral series.

My goal was to cut it down as close as I could to 100,000 words. Having begun at 154,000 words, that goal was doubtful. If I had gotten it down to 110,000 words, I would have been very pleased.

The truth of the matter is that I only made it to 120,000.

As my editing progressed, I found my writing had improved and there was less to cut. Not a bad problem, per se, but still I had hoped to cut more.

Also, the action heated up near the end, and there was less and less that could be removed!

Merlin's Blade, Book 1 of the Merlin Spiral

In fact, whereas I normally was removing 20% minimum from every chapter, my last five chapters went like this:

  • Chapter 39 — Removed 4%
  • Chapter 40 — Removed 3%
  • Chapter 41 — Removed 2%
  • Chapter 42 — Removed 1%
  • Epilogue — Removed 0%

Oh well!

Either way, I did remove over 30,000 words, and averaged around 20% per chapter.

Not bad, but the problem is that, according to one agent’s e-mail, a novel by a new author with 120,000 words will “cause many publishers to flinch”.

Ouch!

I am whacking my brain (yes, I said whacking) to see if there is any major surgery that can be done. Hmmm…

Send a prayer up for the wisdom of my scalpel!

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2 thoughts on “Second Draft Finished!

  • Congratulations!

    Dabbling at writing myself, I know that this is a big project. My father-in-law has just got a novel published, and he found the editing process to involve (I think his words were) “crying actual blood.”

  • Wickle, thanks for stopping by!

    I visited your blog, and found we think much the same! Always glad to find a like-minded believer!

    You’re father-in-law’s quote is right … editing can be very painful to see things thrown into the wastebasket. But the novel is a lot stronger for the changes, and should feel faster to the reader.

    It was also a good test of the emotive power of my writing, since when I wasn’t emotionally involved in the story (chopping, fixing, etc.), I still cried at a couple of parts.

    What kind of writing have your dabbled in? A novel, or a non-fiction book?

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