No pithy word count today. If anything, I’ve gone in the opposite direction and started axing scenes that do nothing to move the story forward. I finished chapter nine over the weekend, and while I’ve still got some touch-ups to do, I’m pleased with the draft. While I’m thinking about nine, I’ve gone back into chapter seven with my OWW critiques.
There were several scenes in seven that my critique group mentioned cutting. One gentleman estimated the chapter could easily lose a thousand words and still be good. I think he was being conservative. I had too many scenes that really did nothing to carry the story forward, but hung around the edges like excess fat. The scenes added a little flavor, but also tended to clog the artery of the plot.
I evaluate my chapters for the pivotal scene or information I want to convey then I try to make sure the rest of the chapter builds around that scene. I’m paying attention to my word count, so extraneous information has got to go. I like the way the story is tightening around my central characters and their issues with one another. The characters and their conflicts with one another are the heart of any novel; the way they resolve those conflicts reflects the soul.
The chapters are becoming shorter and the focus is narrowing on the pivotal characters. It’s hard work, but it’s really exiting to finally be reaching the end.
How do you evaluate what to edit and what to keep?