Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Highlights Full Novel Workshop--Trimming Your Word Count

I'm here in Boyd's Mill, PA, staying in a little rustic cabin, eating in a barn (actually a really nice facility just called that) and working hard to revise one of my MG novels.

We're getting great advice from Sarah Aaronson, Nancy Werlin, Amanda Jenkins, Nicole Valentine and Rob Jenkins.

Here are three great tips from Nancy's fabulous class on artful cutting (trimming and tightening your manuscript):

 Find a great image that can multitask. This is my term for the kind of details Nancy directed us to use, Instead of using the first simile or metaphor that comes to mind, make them count. Is there one great detail that can tell several things about your character or setting?

Combine. You don't need three scenes to illustrate one point. Cherry pick the great details from each and combine these into one good scene.

Make each scene, and each paragraph within the scene, count. Nancy quoted David Mamet: "Any scene...which does not both advance the plot, and stand alone (that is dramatically, but itself, and on its own merits) is either superfluous or incorrectly written."

By looking carefully at each scene, paragraph, and detail, Nancy said she got a 60,000 word manuscript down to 45,000 words.

1 comment:

Rosalyn said...

What a terrific experience! I love Nancy Werlin's Impossible. Such a great story.