Cut Your Novel In Half — Without Losing the Story

The title sounds preposterous, but I’ve done it. The first draft of Prison of Whispers was around 245,000 words. After a little research, I determined most authors have a better chance finding representation if their novel’s length is within accepted industry standards. For second world adult fantasy, that’s around 100,000 to 120,000 words.

So with my 245,000 word behemoth, I had a big problem.

I went through a period of denial. “I can’t possibly shorten this. I’d have to cut major characters and places. I’d lose the heart of the story.”

However, I also wanted to see what would happen if I tried. And if the revisions turned out awful? I could always go back to an earlier draft.

After plenty of reading and research, I at last devised an approach to slimming down my manuscript. For anyone else looking to do the same, I hope you’ll find this series of blog articles useful — and take the plunge yourself.

For me, all the hard work was so worth it.

Start trimming your massive manuscript!

This series of blog articles will point you to some of the incredible resources that helped me learn how to slice my novel’s word count in half.

I suggest first looking at big-picture items (story structure and character arcs) before agonizing over every sentence in your manuscript. After all, you don’t want to spend time polishing a chapter only to cut it out later!

Trimming takes place on three levels. Follow the links below to read about each.

  1. High-level trimming (story structure and character arcs)
  2. Medium-level trimming (chapters, scenes, repetition)
  3. Low-level trimming (words, sentences, paragraphs)

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

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