Now that I’ve started to get into the new project, I have to say that I’ve noticed a definite change in my writing and how I approach it.
When I was younger, I never really thought about how long a particular novel should be – the bigger, the better, right?
Well, that was before I wrote the first draft of The Holy Fool – all 160,000 words of it. Then I actually tried to read through it and figure out what was actually going on. There was a lot of talking; I’ve discussed before about how much I get into dialogue. There was plenty of scenery and descriptions, as well. Was there action? There was a little bit of it, at least.
That’s when I started getting the advice that you shouldn’t try to write books longer than 100,000 words. Yeah, there was some people who wrote longer than that, but how many people tried to do that as first time writers and managed to get published? Not many, as far as I heard. And I’m at the point of my life where getting published is the main thing.
So, I cut and cut. I started eliminating entire subplots, killing off characters before I met them so I wouldn’t have to write about them. And it was fun, brothers and sisters. It was fun slicing and dicing all of those unnecessary words and leaving the story clear and easier to read. Learning how not to write stuff is just as important as how to write stuff.
When I saw that I had either temporarily or permanently removed 5,000 words-plus from my first draft of #4, I was not depressed in the slightest. All of those missing words just gives the story more room to roam as it grows.
Keep writing, everyone.