Some people can’t. get. enough. words.
Some people have to pinch….and pull….and fight those words into existence, but they are the happiest when manipulating them around the page.
But it all comes down to one thing: we love our words! And our words form a certain equation. 90,000 words strung together in a coherent thought make an average novel. We KNOW, we UNDERSTAND that those 90,000 words will guarantee us a novel of considerable length, the kind we are most often used to reading.
But what happens when we start to edit those 90,000 words? We start to lose them. Sure, we lengthen some plot threads, but most often (okay ME) have to cut words. Gulp. The last week or so of editing, not a day has gone by that I haven’t deleted 1000 words.
Now a good many of those are recovered in other areas of my novel, so the loss isn’t as great as it sounds every single day, but just before my finger punches that delete key, I pause. This will affect my overall word count. I won’t have 90,000 words anymore, I’ll have 89,395 word novel.
My novel will be gasp….INCOMPLETE!
I eye my word count number with a jaundice eye at the bottom of my screen (Word can be a blessing and a curse and I’m more prone to say curse)
I’ve just deleted 500 words, where are those new magic 500 words to replace the ones I’ve lost? So I type and I get lost in the glory of creating new prose.
But the problem is…nine times out of ten, they are filler words. And I have to go back and hit the delete key again.
I’m back to square one, back to biting my nails because my word count is going to fall short of my goal.
So where do you draw the line?
You have to be aware of your word count, yes. Because a 90K novel that ends up being 50K is not going to make it. (let’s hope we don’t write that much fluff on the first draft) BUT, don’t get so caught up in the word count that you FORGET how important it is to make sure you write the RIGHT words.
Don’t let the worry that you will cut too many words make you forget that we want the words we write to be the absolute best they can be.
Which would be the better option … to cut a section that bogs down your plot and takes it nowhere fast….or keep those words because you want to keep a certain word count?
Puts it into perspective, doesn’t it? I know at least for me, personally, it makes it a lot easier to hit that delete key. It’s making the work TIGHTER. It’s making the writing STRONGER and the writer more AWARE not to write such blah the first time around. ;-)
But this is what the editing and revision section is for. So realize that when you sit down to edit that the delete key is going to play a role in your day. Look at your writing over all, what is coming up next and what just happened and be prepared to analyze and consider what needs to be completely deleted or just rewritten.
There is a time for both. Don’t forget that latter option.
So go forth and edit and remember the delete key is not one to be dreaded. By the time you need a new computer, the key should be smooth and void all letters. ;-)