Have you ever tried to write a story and consciously think of the words you are not allowed to use. It’s way more difficult than you would think. As I am reviewing some of my chapters, which I dubbed “the hacking project” I noticed how often I cross out the same words. You don’t even realize it when you first start writing how many filler words creep into your sentences. You need to hit a certain specified word count, it’s not about pages, it’s about how many words you dump on the reader. Every genre has its own rule about word limits, and for me I have to whittle my novel down to about 80,000 words. My first thought when I realized this…..HOLY CRAP! I am about halfway through the first “Manny” and I am already at about 75,000 words. This….is a problem. And thus, the hacking project begins.
Doing a read through I notice words like; that, had, very, which, there, just. And then there were sentence starters like suddenly and immediately. You realize quickly you don’t need these words, they are filler and completely pointless. If you were to just skim a novel you completely delete words like; the, is, that, he, she, then, if, where, and…these words aren’t always needed.
Even as I write this blog here I can easily insert words that I don’t need and it makes every sentence that I write a lot longer than it really should or needs to be. (35 word count)
Rewrite: As I write this blog I insert words I don’t need, making every sentence I write longer than is should be. (21 word count)
This is where you have to take into account the artistry of writing, what do I keep, and what do I delete? The words become your enemy, and I actually begin to HATE them. These hated words creep into every sentence, needlessly, I hack away at them with a vengeance. WHY DO YOU RUIN MY SENTENCES WORDS!!!! But then some sentences, I have a deep crush on, they are so beautiful in their description that I have a hard time cropping them down. Sometimes, I just love words…
The sun rose majestically through the crisp fall clouds spraying the early morning dew drops with hues of pink, orange, and yellow. Song birds twittered nervously in the naked trees, dancing back and forth on shaking limbs anticipating the storm brewing in the east. (44 words)
The sun rose in the crisp of dawn, song birds dancing back and forth in anticipation of the brewing storm. (20 words)
Which sentence is better? Are either of them any good? Do the extra words add anything to the canvas in your mind? Sometimes writing isn’t fun when you over think it, and many times I wish I could go back to just writing to write, and not caring how many damn words are in every single chapter. If you don’t like them, skip them!! Ok well, I guess I could whittle my 750 page novel down to 350 pages…if you really want me to, but I won’t like it one bit!!
Back to the chopping board….