Cutting and ing

I’m an idiot. I’ve blown 8,000 words. As I cut SEDUCED from 118K to 110, I’m horrified by the waste.

All those turnings and glancings and gazings and ings in general. My word footprint is absolutely gluttonous. If my words were emissions, I’d be a stretch Hummer. Al Gore is coming for me next. I’ll have to foster polar bears in my bathtub to ease my conscience.

How do I shut myself up? It’s clear from this blog I love the sound of my own words.

  • Focus focus focus. What are you trying to say? Say only that.
  • Trust. The reader will get it without the 2×6. A 2×4 is good enough.
  • Simplify. Why use one adjective when six will do… No, no. Use ONE adjective and save the other five for later.
  • Don’t be clever. It takes too long to pat yourself on the back.
  • Switch from daily word goals to scene goals. (Who, me pad? Nah. See rule 3.)

Do you write long? How do you stop yourself? How do you pace yourself? How many adjectives have you used to describe the hero’s pectorals?


3 thoughts on “Cutting and ing

  1. LOL, Jessa! I can be wordy and verbose and use a lot of words to say the same thing, over and over again, many times over. ;?) But I try not worry about it initially. I just get it down on paper, and then trim ruthlessly.

    I have a crazy, arbitrary system where, when I’m done with a chapter, I see if I can reduce it by one page, simply by cutting words here and there in individual paragraphs. A shorter, simpler word or phrase in one spot may reduce the number of lines in that paragraph. Do that again, 25 times in a 20 page chapter, and, well, you can see what happens. In the end, I have more words per page, but it makes everything tighter. Nothing bugs me more than having a paragraph with a single word hanging on the bottom line, or a chapter with one line spilling onto the last page.

    Like I said, it’s completely arbitrary. (For one thing, if someone changed the type size or the margins, it would mess everything up all over again. :?)) But I think it’s what keeps my books from running to 150K words or more.

  2. Ooohh… I like Kerry’s idea. Instead of waiting to do massive cuts on the whole ms, do them daily after you hit your scene or word count goals. I’m not verbose — I write short and have to go back and add, then cut (or substitute). Or a sometimes, I write boring — step 1,2,3 goes down on paper when really all the reader needs to see is step 0.5 and step 3 but in SHOW don’t TELL words. *laugh*


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