The ever-energetic Frank Creed (of the Lost Genre Guild fame) sent me over to check out Double Edge Publishing, and I ended up finding a regular column called “Writer’s Cramps” in their Mindflights magazine.
Not only did I find some generally terrific writing advice perusing the fully four years of columns, but I also came away with my mind whirring about a writing problem I have in my first book.
What is the problem with my first book? It’s bloated at 120,000 words. A first time novelist seeking publication in the Christian market needs to be under 100,000.
And I had cut all I could (24,000 words) to get it down to 120,000—and I despaired of ever finding a way to cut it further. Or so I thought.
Here’s one snippet of the writing advice:
So I began pruning my novel. Radically. I got rid of the whole thing before the last scene of chapter nine, and worked on tucking tidbits of the backstory into the novel. No infodumping allowed.
The result is a much tighter novel that dropped about 20k words
What? The author dumped everything up to the end of chapter nine? Of course, all of that was backstory—and my novel certainly didn’t err by putting in that much backstory. After all, the writing is witty, the story fun, even ominous, and everything is needed to setup what follows.
Or is it all needed?
I have decided to give it a try. I found a key point in part one (strangely, at the end of chapter nine) and have cut EVERYTHING before it. Keeping the prologue, that still cuts 27,000 words. And now I am trying to work all that back material slowly and organically into what follows.
It just might work! If so, then I even have some wiggle room as the newly slimmed down novel sits at 95,000 words. Wow. It just might be possible!
The only problem with this approach is that I must delay my work on Book 2: Merlin’s Shadow. Ah well, this is the time to fix book 1 if there is a way.
Anyway, Double Edge Publishing puts out some great Webzines you should check out: