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Monday, November 29, 2010

Trimming the Fat

Did you have a good holiday weekend? I did. Did you eat lots of turkey and gravy and stuffing and feel like you'd just swallowed the Titanic? I did. Did you gain three pounds for your efforts and don't regret it a single bit? I did!!!

But hey, this blog is supposed to be about writing, not turkey. Fortunately the connection is readily apparent. If you've been keeping tabs (and if you have you're one devoted friend!) then you'll know that recently I've been adding scenes and dialogue to draw out the character of Nikki's sister. Well, this actually went quite well - I got inspired by the photographs I posted here and I also became inspired just by starting a new WIP. How did that happen, you ask? Well, I came up with this idea for a MG novel and just started writing it one day last week. BUT I felt guilty for cheating on Nik and Sam, so that prompted me to write a bit in Nikki's Wish. I figured, one thousand words in the new, one scene in the old, and so on. And wouldn't you know, it worked! I somehow managed to get all of those revisions done. I even went through and re-read the whole manuscript on Saturday!! I'm feeling the rosy-posy happiness of accomplishment here folks, but now for the sad part. THE MANUSCRIPT IS CURRENTLY AT 100,000 WORDS!!!

Ack! How did that happen? So along with trimming my turkey fat (six flights of stairs three times a day ought to do the trick), I now have to trim some of my writing fat. I've already taken notes on what can go and what should stay. This is big, revision-type trimming folks (think liposuction and you'll get the idea). My goal is to have 5K of it gone by Wednesday, December 1st. If that happens then I'll spend the next two weeks tightening. Let's see, two weeks, 5K words, that's about 360 words each day. That's not so much. And then, it'll be query and synopsis and then I WILL start putting this thing out by early January.

I'm running off now to find a little meter gadget that I can stick on my blog - there must be one somewhere right? Oh, and did I forget to mention that I already have 1K of that 5K done?? I feel like I'm on a role here!! But uh...don't expect me to add an actual poundage scale anywhere.  :)

What about you? Do you have some fat trim? Real or literary, either way, leave a comment and let me know!!

Also - kitty update! My husband agreed to the plan for where to put the litterbox, but now I'm cleaning up the clutter in the house because I feel like adding another being to the domestic sphere demands it. Also, my hubby is going to Malaysia in January and somehow I think it'll be better if I don't have to deal with new kitty stuff until after he gets back (also cat in the christmas tree? I wants to avoid that for now). So, the plan for now is to get the kitten in February.  Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!


Melanie said...

YOU CAN DO IT ANGIE!!! Trim that fat, girl! Looks like we'll be querying around the same time. Glad to know I'll have such a good friend of mine gong through it with me. :-)

Are the kids totally psyched about the cat or have you decided to wait to tell them?

Angie said...

They know and yes they're excited - but they haven't been liking all the cleaning. :) And I haven't told them we're going to wait until after the new year yet.

Yay for querying!!

Susan said...

I can soooo relate to the trimming problem... I had to cut ~10,000 words before I started querying (to reach the standard 90,000 YA word count), and then my agent managed to cut another 2,000 or so before I went on sub.

First: Cut any non-essential dialogue (I had sooooo much of this), any redundancy (I had a lot of this too -- my MC just kept reiterating stuff), any scenes that aren't critical to the story (I managed to cut 2 whole scenes!), or any "extra words" (e.g. just, suddenly, etc.). There was a lot of obvious stuff that could go.

Second: You have to get really rough with your MS. You've got to find scenes where you cut a full page in half by simply shortening actions, removing dialogue, or even cutting a character from a scene.

Third: Thought you tightened it enough? Read it again, and tighten, tighten some more. Don't need that dialogue tag? Cut. Has the heroine already cried two scenes before? Cut. Can you summarize the transition shorter? Do it. :)

With enough slashing (and inevitable cringing), you can definitely shorten your MS!

Good luck! And yaaaay for kitty!

Angie said...

Susan - thanks for all the tips! Very helpful. :)

Nomes said...

you can so do this. and i am extremely pumped that you'll have nikki's wish out there soon! can't wait to follow along with your querying process!

also, a little jealous we dont do thanksgiving... :(


Angelica R. Jackson said...

I'm in the trimming stage, too, and I expect I'll knock about 3,000 words off of 95,000. Just like our bodies have a weight they like to stay at (especially as middle age creeps up on me!), this manuscript seems to be happiest at 92,000 words.

Good luck, and maybe the cat thing will solve itself and one will just show up on your doorstep. That's how we've gotten all of ours.

Joann Swanson said...

Yay, you're back on Nikki! I love that you felt guilty working on another wip. So adorable. I would LOVE to have the problem of cutting words. I'm always adding them in to get my word count up. You'll do it, no doubt!

Machelle Blankenship said...

Off the subject but I love, love, love your banner!

Angie said...

Thanks for all the encouragement guys!! Machelle - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hey Angie,

I'm just finishing up my final edit and I've added about 20 pages. (And I would like to point out that a lot of it is your fault! :) If you didn't give so many great suggestions to add emotion, depth, and more showing, I wouldn't be in this predicament.)

After I'm done and I read through the entire ms, I'm sure I'll find places that still need work. I thought I'd already done so much of that, but I guess there's always more.

Just a note on word count. I've heard two ways to count words and they come up with remarkably different numbers. The first is to just take the actual word count off the word processor. In my case, that's about 95,000 words. The second (and I got this from an author blog who assures me it's industry standard) is to take your page numbers and multiply by 250 (the average number of words on a published page). That gives me about 86,000. Quite a difference. What have you heard?

Anyway, good luck. It looks like me, you, and Melanie will all be querying about the smae time. Cross your fingers.

Angie said...

Haha..sorry, Shari. So glad that you've made a lot of progress. My fingers are crossed for you. :)

About the word count...hmmm, I would think that the word processor method would be more accurate because otherwise you'd have to make sure that your font, margins and everything else were exactly to industry standard. That seems kind of ambiguous. For instance, when I had my manuscript in courier font it was giving me 550 pages, but when I changed to Times it went down to 450 and I've heard that both fonts are acceptable. Plus some styles of writing naturally have more words per page - a prose heavy manuscript would have more words per page than one which is dialogue heavy. Me, being the scientist, would rather go for the method that's the most accurate. Whether that's what most agents do, I don't know, but I wouldn't want to send a full to someone and say that it has 90K words when it really has 100K because then they might think that I was cheating on my word count. *shrug*

Angie said...

Here are my calculations:
actual words: 98,000
in Times New Roman: 90,000
in Courier: 112,000



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