Since finishing the Isle of Swords manuscript on Dec. 31st, I've received and completed two additional sets of edits. As mentioned in the previous post, I've worked with the same editor, a wonderful lady named June, for all of my published books. She's dynamite, and I've learned a metric ton from her.
But…since I somehow have a knack for overshooting my word count by about 10,000-20,000 words, there has been a lot of cutting. For those wondering what I mean by "overshooting my word count," I don't know if all publishers work this way, but for my books, the publisher has predetermined a word count range. I believe it has something to do with typesetting and the number of signatures that will eventually make up the book. Seems like it would make more sense to just have the author write the book and THEN figure out the signatures and such, but oh, well! lol
Being so far over word count means I needed to cut a lot of content from the books. The Final Storm was the hardest b/c I needed to cut almost 20,000 words. But a funny thing happens when you start cutting: you begin to ask the most important question a writer can ask: "Why is this scene in my book?"
Seriously, you need to be cold, hard, and honest about this. The wonderful, clever, witty, yummy scene that you've so colorfully drawn up…uh, does it really belong? If it was missing, would anyone really notice?
When I cut (or my editor cuts) it hurts--A LOT, but it really is the best sort of surgery. Rarely have I been disappointed with the end result of a chapter or scene after cuts. Usually, the scene ends up much stronger, much more powerful or poignant.
For The Door Within, my editors made (read: strongly suggested, and being newly signed, I didn't argue) me cut the first three chapters! Ouch. But in the end, the opening chapters are much more captivating--they hook the reader unlike my original plan.
This is all not to say that I don't disagree with my editors. We go at it via email all the time. But the struggle helps me to define what I really wanted in the story in the first place.
The moral to this tome: send your editor some love; their surgery may save your novel.