I finished the tightening pass on May 2nd, a few days past when I targeted, but honestly, I’m so relieved it’s over I can’t help but smile. Ye gads that was tedious. Like insanely tedious. I had a headache for most of the last two weeks of April.
I came across the 10% Solution by Ken Rand a year or two ago. I found it a useful little book that doesn’t really tell you anything you don’t already know, but presents it in a logical, straightforward manner that forces you to think about the things you already know. The premise is to be able to take any writing and be able to trim it by 10% by tightening up the prose.
This is done by going over piece 10-15 times looking at each and every instance of specific words like “of” or “was” and really deciding if they need to be there or if there’s a shorter, clearer way to communicate something. I had tried it on some short stories and flash fiction and found it useful, if it a bit tedious.
Applied to a novel, tedious doesn’t quite capture the experience. But it’s hard to argue with the results. I only trimmed about 3% of the novel, but that was close to 3000 words of fluff. The prose is a lot tighter and reads much smoother.
The novel is in the cooling off phase. I’ll pick it back up later this month or in June for a final proofing pass and then start to spin up the gears of publishing. As for the rest of the month, I’ve already dusted off and finished two flash fiction pieces. I have another flash fiction piece I’m going to expand to a short story. There are also an alarming number of weeds in the yard, and there’s a work conference later this month that’s sucking up an inordinate amount of my time. Once those are past though, there are some video games I’ve been eying and some naps to catch up on. Then I’ll figure out what the next project should be, which my writing brain has already started to chew over despite me telling it take a break.
Oh, well. It feels great to have SCC5 in the bag and almost (almost!) ready to share.
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