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!
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%
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”.
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!