As a child whenever I finished a rough draft I felt like, “Okay, it’s done. Why would I need to edit it? It’s perfect.” If only it were that easy.
I’m still working on editing my novel. I’m struggling with my word count, so I’m cutting away. Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful.
* The hardest part for me is cutting something out that I think is good. If it isn’t relevant to the plot or character development it has to go, no matter how beautiful the scene or how funny the dialogue.
* Don’t repeat telling the same tale more than once. I always want to hear how a character retells the story when relating it to another character, but this redundancy isn’t necessary.
* I cut out the backstory, working it into the story itself and dramatically reducing the word count.
* Removing words, such as just, actually, like. If I can still understand the sentence without the word, it doesn’t need to be there. This includes removing adjectives when there is more than one in a sentence or overusing the -ly ending words.
* Make things less wordy. Rewrite sentences keeping the important parts, but using fewer words. Easier said than done, but most of my cuts seem to be of this nature.
*If my mind wanders during a section or a sentence, it doesn’t seem fluid or is confusing I know it has to be rewritten or cut entirely.
* Excess descriptions. I still want to tell what the characters and places look like, but I’ve found the key is that the more important the scene or character the more descripton they need. If it is a passing village not important to the plot I don’t have to spend all that much time describing it.
* What NOT to do: Don’t write a summary instead of dialogue, especially if it is important to the plot. I don’t mean leaving in every small talk conversation during dinner, but I like to feel like I am actually there when the character’s talk or do something as opposed to reading about it after the fact.
Agree? Disagree? Know of anything I missed? Please let me know, I appreciate your feedback.