Every cut makes your manuscript stronger

January 3, 2011

Did I say I’ve been going through revisions for the last year? Because I’ve actually been going through additions.

While incorporating feedback to add “more of this” or “more of that,” I’ve fleshed out so many scenes, characters and feelings that my manuscript has ballooned to 98,000 words. That’s about 15K more than it was nine months ago, when I declared my story solid enough to approach agents. Now, of course, it’s more solid. But it’s also longer. Probably too long.

Based on other discussions we’ve had on this blog about word count, I’m shooting to come in at 80-85-90K. (My agent will help me determine my precise target.) Which means I have a lot of cutting to do.

I started that cutting tonight, and after removing a nine-page scene (double-spaced, that’s about 2,600 words), I wrote a note to my critique partner Peggy — who has a book coming out this summer! — complaining about how painful it was to kill my darlings.

She wrote back: “Remember, every cut makes it stronger.”

When cutting your manuscript feels painful, remember: You're making it stronger. (Photo credit: Flickr's MotleyOklahoman)

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