WiP→ As mentioned, Watch of Night (YA sci-fi).
Word Count→ So embarrassing to admit, but it's in the 120,000 words range now. O_o
Whoa!!→ Yeah, I need to lose about 20,000 words. Too bad I'm still not done the first draft.
I have discovered the joy of hitting the Delete key on my keyboard, and I'm kind of addicted to it now. One day recently I sat down and just started reading over parts of my story, and doing exactly that. Extraneous words? Delete. Repetition for no other reason than trying to sound profound? Delete. And those pesky adverbs that the road to Hell is supposedly paved with*? Delete.
In finally locating my Delete key, I've also discovered that there is always something to delete. Back when I first started working on this story I thought there was no way under the sun that I could write enough words to actually make up a book. No way, no how. So I wasn't mindful of just how wordy I was getting. I'm ashamed to admit that there were times when I would consciously throw in an extra word just to hit my daily word goal sooner, and to make that overall word count climb. Of course, this was back when my WiP was in its infancy. Not that I'm much better now (still wordy), but at least I'm aware of how much I'm going to have to cut in revisions.
I read this recently on Janice Hardy's** blog The Other Side of the Story and it gives me hope:
"Long" novels are most often ones that are 120,000+ words. A 120,000 word novel is roughly 480 pages (based on the traditional 250 words per page format). You can cut 4800 words out if you cut just ten words per page. That's one sentence in most cases. Cut twenty words per page and you've practically hit your 10K mark. Twenty words is nothing. A 150,000 word novel? 600 pages, and 6000 or 12,000 words gone. Cut thirty words -- 18,000 words down.Really? Well that's cool. She actually goes on to demonstrate how this can be done with one of her own already edited, printed, and published books (further proving that you can always lose words). I will be taking this under advisement, and I will be getting better acquainted with my Delete key.
How about you? Do you tend towards wordiness too?
Addition: I knew that there was a blog post somewhere that gave great tips on cutting words from your WiP, but do you think I could remember it? Anyway, just stumbled across it again, and it was on Agent Rachelle Gardner's blog→ How to Cut Thousands of Words Without Shedding a Tear.
* Thank you, Stephen King. And yes, you are right about this.
** Janice Hardy is a YA author and taught writing through Writers Digest Online Workshops.