Post-Beta-Reader Editing Part 1

Well, I’ve been keeping busy since getting all the feedback from my beta-reader on my novel Not Famous. As I mentioned before, I got some great feedback, and I’ve already started going through the comments in the manuscript, making suggested changes.

In addition to some editorial tweaks suggested by the beta-reader, I was advised to go through the manuscript, clean up redundancies and tighten things up a bit. My plan is to reduce the word count of my manuscript as much as possible by making passages more efficient and cutting things that just aren’t necessary. The manuscript as it was when I got it back from my beta-reader was just under 109,000 words. My goal in this editing phase is to bring it down as close to 100,000 words as I can. At the end of today I got it down to about 106,600 words. So, I’ve managed to trim about 2,400 words in a day. Not bad. There’s more work to be done though.

I know a target word count of 100,000 is still considered pretty high.  Best-selling author Jon Rance saw my recent blog post via Twitter and told me the following:

Can I get my manuscript down to 90,000 words or less? I’m thinking probably not. Okay, I know it’s possible because even though I tried to make every scene matter, I know some scenes, if I was writing for a publisher would likely be recommended for the chopping block. I even thought my beta-reader would call some out. She didn’t, but after telling her a few scenes I thought she might have suggested be cut she agreed that a couple scenes featuring a minor character were, in her opinion “extraneous.”  I can see why she said so, but I still feel at this time this minor character is still necessary and I’m hoping I can reach my target word count without cutting those scenes.

Anyway, if I can get the manuscript down to 100,000 words I’ll be happy. I’m not cutting stuff just to cut it either. Reading through the manuscript again after a break has given me the opportunity to see it with fresh eyes, and I’m definitely finding it easier to pick out parts that were unnecessary and negatively affecting the pace of the story. I’m tightening dialogue, trimming scenes… anything to improve the efficiency of the writing.

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