Generally, writers want a higher word count. 120, 000 words, perhaps. At one time, 60,000 words seemed adequate. Then, it climbed to about 80,000.

Cutting the word count might at first seem counterproductive, but the principle of getting rid of anything that doesn’t add to the story may well save the novel in question.

To do this properly, I think the writer needs to select a time in between rewrites and decide on how much they want to cut. 10, 000 words, perhaps?

First, they would back up the latest draft several times to avoid losing work they might later wish to include again.

Next, they would create a new file in a separate folder, carefully marked as a Cut Edition.

In stage three, the writer would read through the work and highlight any writing that doesn’t add to the story. The writer can afford to take a ruthless approach, as they have already backed up the story in a seperate folder.

Stage four involves converting the document and highlights to a Read-Only, such as a PDF or HTML file.

In the fifth stage, the writer opens a new file and revises the story, referring to the PDF or HTML.

Finally, the writer takes a short break from the story before reading the revised version and making a decision.

An interesting experiment, whatever the outcome.

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9 thoughts on “Writing A Novel, Cutting The Word Count

  1. I ted to work in reverse. I write and get the story out. I am woefully short of anything resembling a novel. I then fill in with description, back story, etc, until I get to an acceptable amount of words. It’s strange, I know, but I have never been an over-writer.

  2. I write out everything longhand – avoiding the computer – and I find that helps enormously. So much of writing is mental and with the industry having changed (it seems) to favour the publication of longer books, I found discarding even the notion of a word count for the first draft liberating. The story is told and then I can remove or shape as necessary while typing. It takes longer but I find it works 🙂

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