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February 27, 2014 / Angela Sylvia

Moments in Editing: Chop Chop Chop

I’ve gone back to my recently rehashed old manuscript again, after setting it aside for a few weeks to give me a break. One thing I’ve noticed: It’s really not that terrible anymore, which is nice. Another thing: There’s still a lot to cut.

Chop ChopOn that last go through, I didn’t quite reach my goal of cutting 10,000 words (essentially a quarter of the book) and got to the end with ~8,000 words sliced out (it sounds like a lot, and it kind of is, but it wasn’t as hard as you’d think since most of those words were so, so bad). It was a big goal, but I was a little disappointed with my failure. But, luckily, now that I’m going back again, I’ve found sentences and phrases and single, weirdly placed words to ditch, and I managed to cut out ~200 words in the first three chapters. This leaves me hopeful that there are another 1,800 overripe sentences or misguided word placements I can extract.

Lesson learned here: you can always cut more.

In interesting (and flattering) news on my ramblings on the process of this whole thing, an earlier post on all the massive mistakes I noticed was picked up by Kath Temean and reposted on her blog, Writing & Illustrating. If you want to see it again, please go here, where you’ll also see a comparison of my old and new opening pages.

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2 Comments

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  1. Kathy Temean / Feb 27 2014 7:10 pm

    It is amazing how much you can cut. A bunch of writers got together last night and we started talking about a woman that showed up one night at our writers group who had a two thousand word picture book. We got her to cut it to a thousand, then she got an agent who made her cut it to 500 words and she hadn’t lost any of the story. A week later it was sold.

    • Angela Sylvia / Feb 27 2014 11:03 pm

      That’s amazing! When you get rid of the junk the story the story just shines so much more clearly.

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