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Hi, I'm Redwood....AA for word counts


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#21 RC Lewis

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 02:54 PM

Yeah, I'm having deja vu. I think we went through this on the old site once. *Twilight Zone music plays*
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#22 MarkQuiet

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 03:09 PM

Here is another thought for you. My YA was 180K words when I finished the second draft. The most common suggestion was "cut it in half". Yeah - doesn't work that well. What I did do was look at the multiple plots I had going on in the story. It turned out I had a main plot and several sub-plots working. I eliminated any scene that didn't contribute to the main story objective. Though it killed me to loose a lot of great scenes and I think that the reader looses a lot of "behind the scene" knowledge, I did manage to get the story down to a little over 100K words. Then by eliminating my crutch words (that, had, was, just, etc...) I managed to get the count to its current spot at just over 88K words.

It's not easy, but good luck.

#23 Robin Breyer

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 04:27 PM

Mark, That's why I said if I have to go through that much work, I'd rather write something new. My thought is either break it into sections or move on to the next project.

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#24 Rick Pieters

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 05:23 PM

RC, many thanks. I have Word 2003 on this computer, so it was a little different, but it worked! My other laptop has 2007. A small but oh so useful revelation. (I only had 4 "suddenly" in 100K, but over 1,000 "that"--mostly in dialogue.) I love new tools!

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#25 RC Lewis

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 05:25 PM

You're welcome, Richard. :biggrin:

Now that I think about it, I need to run a check in some of my mss for "wonder(ed)". My own mother's the one who spotted I overuse it in places. :blush:
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#26 Rick Pieters

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 05:34 PM

Now I'm really confused. I posted a reply, it showed up answering something that looked like a different thread, so I took it off, went back and saw a reply from you, RC, but when I returned to the topic again, neither my reply or yours shows up. Hmmm. A little learning curve here, I'm thinking.

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#27 Rick Pieters

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 05:37 PM

Now I'm really confused. I posted a reply, it showed up answering something that looked like a different thread, so I took it off, went back and saw a reply from you, RC, but when I returned to the topic again, neither my reply or yours shows up. Hmmm. A little learning curve here, I'm thinking.


Nevermind. I was on the second page. Not used to several pages instead of seeing the whole thread laid out for a scrollback. Doh.

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#28 Rick Pieters

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Posted 15 September 2010 - 05:46 PM

Here is another thought for you. My YA was 180K words when I finished the second draft. The most common suggestion was "cut it in half". Yeah - doesn't work that well. What I did do was look at the multiple plots I had going on in the story. It turned out I had a main plot and several sub-plots working. I eliminated any scene that didn't contribute to the main story objective. Though it killed me to loose a lot of great scenes and I think that the reader looses a lot of "behind the scene" knowledge, I did manage to get the story down to a little over 100K words. Then by eliminating my crutch words (that, had, was, just, etc...) I managed to get the count to its current spot at just over 88K words.

It's not easy, but good luck.


Yeah, my first draft was almost 180K, but I looked at getting it down to 100K as a challenge in editing. Lost lots of lyrical writing, killed some good scenes in subplots, but I did get there, and if it suffered, I learned a lot about self-editing with a harsh attitude. If it (whatever) didn't serve the story's forward motion, if it filled in backstory that was cool but unnecessary, out it went. So my take is that it's worth the effort. (Or not, for your story.)

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#29 redwood

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 08:40 AM

Yeah, my first draft was almost 180K, but I looked at getting it down to 100K as a challenge in editing. Lost lots of lyrical writing, killed some good scenes in subplots, but I did get there, and if it suffered, I learned a lot about self-editing with a harsh attitude. If it (whatever) didn't serve the story's forward motion, if it filled in backstory that was cool but unnecessary, out it went. So my take is that it's worth the effort. (Or not, for your story.)


I do wonder a little about this from time to time. What has one (not you specifically) got left when one has cut all lyrical writing, killed all subplots, and cut the book in half (or even thirds?)

I'm pondering all this right now as I'm going through slicing things my gut tells me are important to keep, but I'm slicing anyway. :sad:

As far as my own overused word list, I've didn't use Word Cloud (although that might be a good way.) I just picked up typical overused words from all the writing sites I've visited, all the books I've read, all the writers I've edited, all the conferences I've attended, and reading my own stuff.

Another thing you have to watch out for are those pesky unusual words that are perfect----when used once. Yes, I maintain that for certain words, you can only use them once in the entire book.
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#30 Robin Breyer

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 11:21 AM

I love stories that have a rich tapestry and tell an involved story. Maybe that's why I try to write that. I also wonder when your writing dictated that the story should be 180k and you whittle it down to 100k or less, what is left? I try to tell the best story I can and keep it as free from fat to start with and by the time I finish editing it there isn't much there that isn't part of the story I set out to tell (and the story I would want to read if I was browsing in the bookstore). That is why if my writing is too long I will write something that isn't rather than cut out what I consider the life of my story.

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#31 Jean Oram

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:01 PM

Here is another thought for you. My YA was 180K words when I finished the second draft. The most common suggestion was "cut it in half". Yeah - doesn't work that well. What I did do was look at the multiple plots I had going on in the story. It turned out I had a main plot and several sub-plots working. I eliminated any scene that didn't contribute to the main story objective. Though it killed me to loose a lot of great scenes and I think that the reader looses a lot of "behind the scene" knowledge, I did manage to get the story down to a little over 100K words. Then by eliminating my crutch words (that, had, was, just, etc...) I managed to get the count to its current spot at just over 88K words.

It's not easy, but good luck.


I think that's incredible that you cut that much. Are you liking the final product? I find that editing an ms teaches me so much more than just writing something new--I used to do that, but would create the same problems again since I hadn't truly learned how to fix them/avoid them, etc. It's sort of like aversion therapy.

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