Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Word Shrinkage

I love this picture. It has nothing to do with what I'm actually posting about today, but what the heck. I couldn't find a picture I liked that showed words being shrunk.

I am almost at the halfway point of my book. Well, at least as far as page count is concerned. As far as story, not quite. But almost. I've been happily gutting scenes I don't need. Cutting and pasting them into their own file. I've already taken out about 40 pages. But I'm still not where I need to be and I know it's better if I take care of this problem now before I get too far along.

In my second draft edit, I decided to break my story down into three acts. The first two acts end on a major turning point. The third act ends on the Black Moment and is followed by the climax and resolution. I've allotted 110 pages for Act I, which I managed to do in 109 pages. A small miracle in itself. For Act II, I've allowed 150 pages, of which I only have 86 left. And as things stand now, it isn't going to be enough. I may be able to steal a few pages from Act III but not many, as once Act II is done with I only have 140 pages left to build to the Black Moment, have the Black Moment, then the Climax and the Resolution.

I feel some scene caps coming on. That may be the best way for me to juggle things around and figure out what can be blended with what, what needs to be cut, etc.

But if anyone else out there has any suggestions on what they do to cut down on their page count, feel free to throw them my way. I can use all the help I can get when it comes to actually writing a book under 400 pages...


Annie Mac said...

I'm good at cutting people's pages down. Not so much my own.

I delete everything I would skip as a reader. Too much description? Cut. The scene doesn't move that plot along? Cut. Scene doesn't accomplish multiple goals? Cut.

Are you moving people from one physical spot to another? Cut and use a quick one line transition that plunges directly into the next scene. I spent yesterday getting rid of a scene like this and just moved the characters to the next day when they encounter each other again.

Focus on the hero and heroine, consider scenes about or with secondary characters. Are they absolutely brilliant? If not Cut. Any necessary info move it to a scene with the H&h.

Look at any internal dialog and make sure what they are thinking about is fresh and new. Cut repetitive thoughts.

Can you tell I'm in revision mode? Some of my most sparkling dialog has been axed. Entire scenes wiped out. Sob.

Bailey Stewart said...

I'm looking at adding, not cutting, so I'll be no help whatsoever.

Kelly said...

Good god woman - you're ruthless! But great ideas. I'll make sure I keep that in mind as I'm going through. I need the secondary characters to be present because I need to set up their stories for the next three books that follow, but they are mostly being used to move the plot along. I might be able to blend some scenes so I have multiple goals. That's what I had to do for TOB.

Melissa Marsh said...

Annie has some great suggestions!

julia said...

I like your projected page count per act. That helps to rein in the pacing right there!

Lexi said...

Ack! All your plotting and planning is giving me a headache! Good luck to you. No, I have absolutely no suggestions to help. Sorry.

Julie S said...

I write short so that's never been a problem. It's the beefing up I need to work on! Deb Dixon's book has some good advice on the purpose of a scene and whether or not it belongs.

Rene said...

Ummm....Wow. You really are very organized.

I think in word counts. Before I start writing, I figure out where I need to be in my story as a certain place in the word count. If I reach the word cound and I'm either not far enough or too far, that's when I re-edit.

The first to go are scenes that have nothing to do with the action but are just used to describe character. Next are those poor secondary characters.

I think Annie's advice is the best.

Tess said...

I go through and look at each scene and ask myself what its purpose is. If it doesn't really have one, but is just exposition or idle chatter b/w characters, I cut it.

Good luck with the cutting!!