Friday, January 2, 2009

A Comparison

First Draft
Total length: 75k words
Overused words (and the number of times I used them):
  • hissed = 21
  • just =286
  • asked = 234
  • were =359
  • had = 584
  • said = 748
  • that = 1087
  • was = 1207
Revised Draft
Total length: 68,500 words (cut 6,500 words)
Overused words:
  • hissed = 8 (cut 13--this was mostly just a chapter 1 problem)
  • just = 171 (cut 115)
  • asked = 211 (cut 23--but I'm OK with that number)
  • were = 270 (cut 89--I'm a little disappointed in that number)
  • had = 472 (cut 112)
  • said = 567 (cut 181--but shocked I still have this many)
  • that = 663 (cut 424--but again, shocked I still have so many)
  • was = 888 (cut 319. Man, those "was" suckers just creep right in.)
I have very mixed feelings about this. I do think I made the book tighter. I cut several chapters, combined several more, met my goal in cutting length. And I thought I was doing better on tightening the actual language--and although I cut almost a third of the "was"es and almost half of the "that"s, I still worry that the language itself isn't tight enough.

So...I'm going to set it aside. I'm too close now to be objective. I want to send this off to every agent I can find--and I've already begun looking--but instead, I am going to spend the next few weeks, maybe the next month, researching agents and getting the good list...but before I send off, I'm doing one last read-through of the novel to make sure it really is tight, complete, and the best that I can do.
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