The Edit Diet

I’ve been working on an editing project.  Actually, a cutting project.  I’d written and revised, polished and perfected the manuscript several years ago.  But it was an historical.  Wrong time period.  Wrong setting.  Finally realizing I’d have to wait for the trend to circle back to historicals, I set it aside for another cycle.


But I loved that story, my characters, the setting.  So being “between creative projects” now, I pulled it out and reread it.  Historicals might be trending back once more.  But different.  Shorter.  Tighter.  Not so Reubenesque.


I decided to cut it.


I’ve heard many authors talk about a manuscript they had to cut.  What they learned in the process.  Or didn’t learn.  How easy or difficult they found the cutting process.


Despite the angst, all agreed the process made the book better.


Like a diet for a book.  Making it a fashionable, coveted size 2, rather than a voluptuous plus size. 


I set my optimum page count.  Cut words, paragraphs, a scene.  Or two.  But the page count didn’t change much.  Like stubborn pounds for a dieter.


I learned and cheated like dieters sometimes do.  Instead of looking at the page I was on, I kept checking the final word count and page number.  That way I saw progress.  The cutting/dieting got easier; the reward more apparent.  Each day the book dropped a size.  Excuse me, several pages.


Diets have plateaus.  I found the page cutting did also.  Some scenes couldn’t be trimmed.  Certain words were perfect.  Or I’d make cuts and see that the few words needed elsewhere kept the final page/word count the same.  Plateaus.  Part of the process.


I’m very near my page goal now.  I’m thinking this streamlined version will soon be ready to strut the submission catwalk.  Its plus-sized self might have been adored in another era.  But this slimmer version meets the standards for this century.


If only I could cut my body size as quickly.  🙂



Explore posts in the same categories: Light bulb moments, Writing

3 Comments on “The Edit Diet”

  1. While my body needs trimming my writing is always spare. I tend to write in layers and sometimes it’s not til I’m on the polish stage that I realize I left out an entire ingredient. I always go back and add it in. A parfait doesn’t taste right without the whipped cream. 🙂

  2. Mary Jo Says:

    Hi Kesiah,

    Thanks for stopping by and offering a comment. Loved your comment about whipped cream. The little something extra in writing or dessert that makes the use go “Yummy!!”

  3. The web page am nice, I realized of a lots of excellent achievements. I like the method that you design your web sites. Continue the excellent function and could you will get good results in the long run.

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