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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

They say that after you kill for the first time, it gets easier and easier . . .

So pretty much as soon as I decided that was it, I'd cut all I could, I needed to shift my focus from reducing wordcount to actively making the words that remain better . . . it got easier.

I knew from past experience that I couldn't cut substantially by going word by word. I've already learned that doing so just kills any nice turns of phrases or metaphors I might have while doing almost nothing for my word count. So I figured the thing to do was to cut scenes that weren't moving the story forward very much, and make some other scene accomplish whatever those scenes *were* doing for me. And this worked. I cut about 20,000 words this way. Unfortunately, this left me still pretty far from where the industry says a YA novel from a new author should be, but I couldn't cut any more scenes, so I decided to just go with what I had and hope for the best.

I did have a few little things I thought I could look at, though. Parts within important scenes where I was perhaps a little self-indulgent. Having Chris do or think about something just because *I* wanted to write about it. I also think I tended to spew more earlier in the book, because I wanted to make sure it wasn't too short. (Hah freaking hah.)

So I decided to take one last look, and cut . . . and cut . . . and cut. I've cut another six thousand words or so just this week and, what's more, I'm feeling that what's left behind is starting to take shape. It's starting to look halfway good to me again, and I'm regaining my enthusiasm. I actually got up at 5:30 this morning to work on my novel. And I'm really just getting started . . . I've only looked at the first five or six chapters this way. I might not make it down to my wordcount goal, but I'm starting to think I'll make it to within shouting distance of it.

It's funny.

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