Constructive criticism is vital to any writer. Hearing that your story isn’t “perfect” can be a bit hard to take. But what makes you a great writer is how you use that advice to grow.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know an amazing writer, Jessica Patch. I’ve learned more from her in four days than I’d learned in 2 years of doing research on Google! Thank you for being willing to take the time to teach me and hold my hand through some painful rewrites. I’m know I’m only beginning!
Jessica showed me how vital it is to pay attention to word count. If you’re like me, an overly descriptive writer, then you know how hard it is to stay within those word count limits. My first attempt at writing my novel brought me in at nearly 50,000 words over. That’s huge! So I shredded, rewrote, cleaned it up and I’m still over!
Funny thing is…after speaking to Jessica I realized that I’m still 30-40,000 words too heavy. That’s amazing! So in reality I had nearly 90,000 words too many in my novel. That’s an entire book!
So…for those of you that see every detail and want to share that with the world, I’m here to say it’s rough to cut back. Brutal might be a better word. But…it’s vital to your survival as a writer. Once you’re as popular as Stephen King then you can feel free to write entire chapters that seem to be filled with nothing but stuff and fluff! Until then, cut back.
Pay attention to how many times you use the same word. I was able to delete nearly 400 words from my novel just by deleting the word “just.” Do we really need to say “He stood up” or “She sat down”? Isn’t it implied that standing or sitting means up and down? These are simple tricks that have helped me cut nearly 4,000 words from my book so far!
Take a look at your writing and see how many fluff words you can unload. You’ll be amazed at how many words can form contractions that you simply breeze over when reading. They count so pay close attention! Make it a challenge to see how low you can get while still keeping the essence of the book. It can be a lot of fun!
Good luck! Let me know how you’re doing! And start searching for a critique partner that will be honest in their critique. Their advice can be priceless!