Mumble mumble. Something. Newborn.

Word count culling today, because sitting with the notes and editing properly seemed like too much work when we’re running low on sleep.

Look at a sentence. Does it advance the plot? Then it can stay.

What’s that, this next one doesn’t? Hmmmm, does it help to develop a character? It does?  Alright, then that sentence can make like The Dude and abide.

Oh but this ugly piece of sentence, look at it. Just look at it! No advancement of the plot, no development of the characters. It doesn’t even string together other sentences that do so, or tell us anything special about the setting. OUT I say!
*flicks Holy water at it*

In other news, today I met an evil bird. It likes to eat the screen door of my neighbor’s house.


That’s all I got. What do you look for when you’re culling word count? Anything you know is particularly flabby in your drafts? Would love to know.

Best regards,

About D.R.Sylvester

A Clinical Research Associate by day (google it), writer by night, D.R.Sylvester lives in Sydney, Australia with his patissiere wife and Siberian Wolf. His interests include travel, music (predominantly Metal), reading, & archery.
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6 Responses to Mumble mumble. Something. Newborn.

  1. I usually don’t have a lot of flab to cut between the first and second drafts, but for my first full day of NaNoWriMo, I wrote and entire chapter of pure crap. The second chapter expresses the same things in an entirely better way already.

    • Hahahah I’ve started nano some years and bombed out because so much of what I’d written was crap. Nowadays I just wouldn’t look back until Dec 1st…

      Also, I feel you about the “not much flab” thing. I honestly can’t see which bits of my work constitute the flab and which are essential. For the first few days of cutting it’s torture (having already culled the really non-essential stuff).


  2. ehbates says:

    I actually have the opposite problem . . . whenever I hand a draft off to my critique partners, they tell me I need more setting here, more emotion there, more explanation over yonder. I guess I do find bits here and there that are useless and have to be cut, but I generally start with a skeleton story that needs lots of filling out.

    • Ahh, I hear you. I’m expecting those kind of comments when I ship it off, that’s why I want to cull word count now: to make room for adding essential awesomeness later! And maybe your style just doesn’t ramble on like mine…

      This is the post-second rewrite editing now, so I wrote whole new sections, characters, etc. and now it’s about 30k words too long to be a modern novel length (!)

  3. I like writing dialogue, so I tend to vomit it all over the page, usually in repetitive fashion, with too many adverbial dialogue tags, she said, repetitively. So I often cut 1/4 to 1/3 of dialogue. But then I usually give short shrift to description and emotion, so have to add that in later. I think it evens out, sort of.

    • Yep, I’m definitely guilty of similar, though in my case it’s more dumb jokes and playful phrasing that needs reeling in. I do need more emotional and honest stuff in between all the arse-kicking and hijinks

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