Whew. A busy few weeks. The proofs for the moth guide arrived about three weeks ago; I can’t begin to describe how exciting it was to see everything starting to come together and look like a book. Of course, the flip side to the proofs arriving is that I then have to spend hours going through them, checking for mistakes. I also had to write in all the identification arrows, which turned out to be the most time-consuming part of the process. I’m at about 55 hours and counting for work on the proofs. I’ve already mailed them back and am trying to wrap up last details.
I’ve completely stalled out on fiction in the meantime. I managed to get a couple of critiques finished for new critique partners over the last few weeks (one’s still actually only half done, but at least I’ve sent her something), but I’ve spent little time on my own work. I’ve been keen to get back to Magestone to wrap up the edits on that so I can send it off for a final critique/beta read, but haven’t found the time. The trouble I have with editing is I can’t seem to organize myself enough to work on it in small increments; I like to have longer stretches of time to sit down and focus my mind on the task, but longer stretches have been few and far between these past weeks. Once the guide proofs are wrapped up I’ll have more opportunity, though, and should be able to get it done quickly.
One of my critique partners forwarded me this link on trimming the fat from a manuscript to bring down the word count, which I thought was great advice. I mean, it’s incredibly obvious. But sometimes the obvious doesn’t readily come to mind. The sum of it is: don’t think about your manuscript as a 100k word document, think of it as a whole bunch of 250-word pages, and aim to only remove, say, 10 words per page. Ten out of 250 is paltry, it’s nothing. Should be relatively easy. But over the course of a 100k manuscript, at 400 pages, that’s 4000 words you’ve cut. Bump it up to 20 words a page and you’ll remove 8000 words. A lot of things like stage direction can be easily lost without having a noticeable effect on the writing, as well as modifier words (just, very) and the ubiquitous “that”. And the manuscript will be tighter and (hopefully) smoother for it.