Archive for July 17th, 2009

Too many of the wrong words

Word count: 14101 | Since last entry: 1238

Argh. This story is supposed to be 10,000 words long. It’s now about 13,500 words (plus about 600 words of outline in the main file) and I’ve probably got another 2000 words to go to wrap up the plot. Maybe more. The outline was too complex to begin with, I realize now. This is a common failing for me… too many scenes in the outline. I need to combine scenes, streamline, strengthen, move faster. Maybe even cut out a character or two. Probably everything I’ve written in the last three days will have to be cut. But maybe a few incidents or character moments can be preserved.

Oh well. Nothing to do but bull through to the end and then cut back. I’ve got almost a week and a half before the next crit group deadline… that should be enough time to finish the first draft and then give it a good whacking back. Maybe not enough time to whack it all the way back to 10,000 words, though. I’ll have to ask the editor if there’s any flexibility on length.

David Gerrold had a problem kind of like this with the first draft of the Trouble with Tribbles script: he was using a nonstandard 12-pitch typewriter, so his script came out the right number of pages but 20% too long. When he was done cutting it back, though, he found that the exercise had made it tighter and crisper. I think this story will definitely benefit from the cutting I’m going to have to do. (But can I get it all the way down to 10,000 words? We’ll see, I guess…)