Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Long and Winding Editing Road—Condensing

Here's the deal, friends: I know what has to happen during the next draft of my novel, but I don't want to do it. This past semester burned me out emotionally and creatively. It's been nice to blog because I don't have to put as much effort into a blog post as an essay or a piece of fiction. But, my book has been bouncing around in the back of my head. It's been more of a "hey, hey you, hey, you should work on your novel" than an "Oh, boy! I can't wait to work on my novel!" but I'm hoping that talking to you guys about my next step will make me excited to start writing again. 

What is my next step? 
CONDENSING! Right now, this story is over 147,000 words, which is way too long. Before I start hacking my manuscript to pieces with the backspace key, however, I need to outline once again (this book has more outlines than drafts!). I started to outline before last semester got crazy, and condensed the first twenty chapters into fourteen. If I can do the same to the remaining forty chapters, that should cut out a significant amount of unneeded verbiage. 

In addition to condensing my story, Draft Five is going to be the last draft that I edit for major content concerns. After that, I am going to pay more attention to sentence fluency, diction, inconsistencies, and grammatical errors. I'm hopeful that by creating a streamlined outline, my plot and characters will be better developed because I'll have to be efficient with how I use my words. 

My plan is still to self-publish this book at the end of the summer, but if next semester is as harrowing as the last, I may have to push the release date back.

...Well, look at that! Writing this tiny post has boosted by motivation. Talking about outlining has made me excited to outline. I do love a good outline (maybe someday I'll show you the three-page monstrosity I wrote to accompany a 1,300 word essay). I'm even a bit excited to go after my story with the backspace key (don't you worry! I have all previous drafts of this book saved). 
I want to have Draft Five finished by the end of the school year. My semester should be less hectic than the last one, so I have hope that if I'm dedicated to making time to edit, it will get done! 


  1. Ah, the inevitable pruning shears in the author's toolbox. We'd rather forget they were there, but alas, they are a much-needed tool (particularly for us fantasy authors, no?)

    Wishing you all the best as you look at your story and try to decide what to keep and what to condense and what to prune completely! Your story will be stronger for it, I promise!

    1. Ugh, yes. Those pruning shears are so necessary, yet they cut the book (not to mention the author) so deeply.
      Thank you for the encouragement!

  2. Condensing is haaaaard. :P My novels usually end up long too, and then I have the sad privilege of chopping it up. It's a lot of work, but it can be invigorating. :)

    I can't wait to read this novel, whenever you get it published! ^_^

    1. That's true. If it's a scene that I'm not too attached to, it feels incredible to hit that backspace key... as I laugh maniacally. Heh heh heh... mwahahaHAHAHA.
      Eeee, I'm excited to get it out to the public!