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The last manuscript I’d queried before MS 10 had a first draft count somewhere around 40,000 words. In it’s current, most polished state, it’s now sitting pretty at about 86,000 words.
Here’s the thing that I find interesting—oftentimes when writers talk about revising, they mourn the loss of tens of thousands of cut words, and deleted scenes, and entire sections scrapped and rewritten. And while I’ve certainly done my fair share of cutting and rewriting, I find that most times, my biggest issue isn’t cutting—it’s adding.
As many of you who have read my blog before know, I’m a fast drafter. And while I definitely imagine there are fast drafters out there who have to do major cuts to their manuscripts, I find that my first drafts tend to come in really lean. I get the essentials of the story down—character basics, the main plot and any subplots, tiny bits of setting, etc. It isn’t until I start revising that I really get into the nuances of the story—the in-between stuff that takes my manuscript from scraps to a fully fleshed-out book.
Now, there are definitely exceptions—I have one MS that clocked in at around 90-someodd,000 words that needs major cutting and adding (mostly a lot of cutting so I can fit that stuff to add)—but by and large, I find that my revisions are mostly incorporated of layers upon layers of additions.
So that’s my process—now I want to hear from you. Writers, when you edit, do you tend to cut or add?
Do your first drafts tend to come in lean or prime for cutting? Join the discussion at @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)
Writers, do you tend to cut or add when editing? Join the discussion at @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)