Editing Down (aka killing your babies)

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JayLee

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Editing Down (aka killing your babies)
« on: November 18, 2017, 06:03:03 PM »
So, I've talked a bit about my WIP a little before here on Worldsmyths. At is first draft finished stage, it stood around 165K. Just because it decided to be a beast of a book. I've been pretty immersed in the editing process, and I have a target of 115K.... which means I need to murder 50,000 words. (I'm sitting over here trying to write that many words and call it a "novel" for NaNo).

A few techniques I'm employing? Fixing the plot. Cutting loose threads. And all the usual stuff. But I've also got a few weaknesses I'm trying to take advantage of. For instance, I have an issue with using contractions sometimes (I'm aware of this). I also tend to you the past perfect too much. When it's not needed. I swear, in ten pages I cut 150+ "had"s. And, of course, unnecessary actions/descriptions have met my proverbial guillotine.

In the first 10 pages of editing, I cut over 1K through nitpicking my writing style alone.

But there is much to be done. Much, much... to be done. I'm thinking I'm going to have to cut another plot point altogether at some point, and it's one I kinda liked... but maybe not relevant. Oh well.

Anywho, y'all know the drill :) Any similar experiences? What do you do when faced with cutting words from your book, or even full plotlines. Does the idea alone strike fear in your very soul?? Do you usually have dangling threads? Have you forgotten sections altogether? Or do you usually have to write up rather than cut down? So on and so forth.
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Jedi Knight Muse

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Re: Editing Down (aka killing your babies)
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2017, 07:09:50 PM »
D: I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing, but I didn't really cut that much when I did my round of editing before I sent it to you and @Ahryantah ? Oops, lol. I mean, I fixed typos, and I did cut one scene, but it was awfully written and I already hated it to begin with and I never finished writing it BECAUSE it was awful, so that doesn't really count. Storms isn't currently long enough to have to have done a ton of editing...certainly not as much as you've done.

I guess any further editing will depend on what you and Ahryantah come back with for feedback. XD.
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Ahryantah

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Re: Editing Down (aka killing your babies)
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 09:10:08 PM »
I also have a problem with using the past perfect too much, but I think my main problem is what I call Talking Heads Syndrome. Basically two or more characters having long, long, long conversations with nothing else really happening. A lot of my editing is going back to cut a lot of that and try to balance it better with action scenes. It's hard for me to do because those are great scenes for characterization! And what if the reader misses an important characterization point because I cut a scene down too much!? Related, I also have a bad habit of repeating information several different times, I guess because I'm afraid otherwise a reader might not get my point? Which leads to a whole lot of unnecessary verbiage that I have to take out while editing.
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JayLee

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Re: Editing Down (aka killing your babies)
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 12:04:39 AM »
yeah, sometimes dialogue gets out of hand :)
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Elena

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Re: Editing Down (aka killing your babies)
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 07:06:50 AM »
I am the one having to cut down. I don't count by words, I count by pages. When in the right format (A5, for publishing) I got to cut down 100-120 pages from one novel. And the one I am editing now will have the same fate. Of course, still remained in 2 volumes, just... a bit more manageable ones. 270-290 pages each.

I correct ways of expressing my thoughts, I cut dialogue wherever it can be cut and still leave the story intelligible. Sometimes a small side story gets cut too.

I think I will post some cut scenes which are interesting to be known about side characters on my blog. I haven't done it yet because nobody who reads my blog had read my books. :( The people who read my books don't feel the need to interact with the writer, I don't know why, because this is what i would have wished the most.




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LShelby

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Re: Editing Down (aka killing your babies)
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2017, 08:23:40 PM »
I cut dialogue wherever it can be cut and still leave the story intelligible.

::shudder::
Dialog is the life of my stories.