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Word Count

Original word count: 100K.

Word count after I made the changes suggested by my agent: 116K

Revised word count: 107K

Deleted words: 9,000.

Nine thousand freaking words?

These are not deleted chapters, or even scenes.

These are W-O-R-D-S. An adjective here. A dialog tag there. Shortened or deleted sentences.

I scare myself sometimes. But I'm not sure what scares me: the fact that I can delete so much and not even MISS it? Or the fact that I write so many worthless words to begin with?

I tried to write a story for Highlights once. I forgot what the word limit was. Maybe 8k? I got to 8k and hadn't even touched on the conflict. I'm not even sure if I introduced the main character at that point.

Hats off to any of you who write picture books, early readers, or even--quite seriously--middle grade fiction. I'd need a Valium drip.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
lalam
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
You did a great job! But WOW this is going to be a BIG book! but yay, it means that it'll suck me in! :)
lalam
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC)
and YAY! You're finished!
onegrapeshy
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
Finished for now. But I seriously hope I don't have to rewrite it AGAIN.
(Deleted comment)
onegrapeshy
Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I made a *lot* of changes. I can still think of things to do with it. So right now I'm officially NOT "thinking."
aprilhenry
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, one of my LJ friends was trying to sell a book with 356 words.

I can't even imagine it.
lalam
Mar. 22nd, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
what kind of book was it? Cat and Dog? :)
aprilhenry
Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
Well, definitely a picture book
fandoria
Mar. 22nd, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
If it makes you feel any better, I now feel much better. ;) With my last book, my first draft was 185K, cut down to 150K in the first revision. Then I rewrote it, ending at 116K, revised it down to 111K, handed off to beta readers, then did a final revision and got it down to 97K. Still big, but MUCH smaller than I thought I could get it.
onegrapeshy
Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
That sounds like my first book. The first version could've been a miniseries.
edgyauthor
Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's a lot of word-purging! It doesn't surprise me that the word count shrunk with the deletion of something so simple, though. (Worthless words like to creep into my own books WAY too much--the fact that there's still a manuscript around after I delete them is a miracle!)
onegrapeshy
Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
I guess most of us have this same problem. I laugh when I hear someone complaining that they have to get their word count UP? I'm like: gimme 10 minutes with it, honey.
lalam
Mar. 22nd, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)
will you just write mine then? You can my Ewan MacGregor! :)
onegrapeshy
Mar. 22nd, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Only if he keeps me company while I write it.
edgyauthor
Mar. 22nd, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
I'm actually a word-count-upper, most of the time. That still doesn't prevent me from needing to delete useless words, though. I'm so oxymoronic!
onegrapeshy
Mar. 22nd, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
LOL!
christine444
Mar. 22nd, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
My MS is on the short side, too. Guess I just don't ramble enough. :>)

Highlights' word limit is 800 (used to be 900)! Naturally, I had no problem with it.
onegrapeshy
Mar. 23rd, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
800 is more like it, lol.

That's a sentence for me. :)
laurabowers
Mar. 23rd, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
Yep, this is exactly why I can't write picture books, either. I'm wayyyyyyyy too wordy. :) And I'm starting to dread getting my editor's notes in May because she wants it shortened--Yikes!!

The book I'm rewriting now, though, is only 270 pages. That's like a novella compared to my usual stuff!

Congrats on getting your book finished. Can't wait to read it! :)
onegrapeshy
Mar. 23rd, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
fuguemacabre
Mar. 24th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC)
Can't wait to read it. Why does it seem I've been waiting forever? LOL
onegrapeshy
Mar. 24th, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
Because I've been working on it since 2005! :)
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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Jeannine Garsee
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