Friday, October 27, 2006

How to prune a manuscript

I now have a complete draft for Caressed By Ice. Yay! Lots more work left but I've got the bones of the story down. And it's looking like this book might be a bit longer than the others, but we'll see after I go through a couple more drafts.

Since I was thinking of book lengths, I decided to share some simple tips about how to cut words should you ever need to ie. if you're writing to a particular length (especially important in category romances). I'm talking technical tips to prune words, not tips about how to tighten the story itself.

* Find lines with only one word on them. See if you can somehow get rid of that one extra word by playing with the sentence. Sometimes you can't, but a lot of times you can.

* Get rid of unnecessary modifiers ie. just, still...etc

* Be alert to repetitions. Slice and dice.

* Forget about finding chunks to delete. If you find some, then great, but the less stressful way to cut even a huge chunk is to delete one line from every page of the manuscript, then go back and do the same again. I had to do this for Desert Warrior, my very first published book and it was a good lesson to learn.

Any other tips?

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