Yay, I'm done with the RFDR I was doing for someone. This was a whopper - a 160,000 word fantasy novel. It's written in first person by a sort of knight guardian. And he does a lot of asides.
To give you an idea what was done to it, I'll explain it like this. It started at 157,000 words. I cut it to 83,000 - with all my comments and some jibber-jabber at the end. Most of my marks were deletions. Delete, delete, delete. So much deleting. I thought I was wordy, but at least all of my scenes had SOMETHING to do with the plot - no asides or jokes, just straight narration. I can only think of two irrelevant scenes in Black Hole Son (one for each character) that were for characterization and filler, but that was mostly due to the zipper nature of the novel. I'm ready to delete them, and go through the rigamarole of stitching it back up, if needed.
But if I can reduce a novel by half (and there was plenty I didn't delete), that says something. It's also not the first novel I've done a lot of deleting on, though not in such large quantities. I'm surprised how many struggling writers are so wordy. When I was in high school, I had trouble filling up the page. So I overwrote as much as possible, to try and fill up the page. Now it's backfired on me. What happened to these other people though, I don't know.
At least now I can go back to reading some published stuff again.
Labels: peer review