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July 25, 2012


Lance C.

But that's the rub, isn't it? How exactly do you tell what's "extraneous"? That revision letter could just as easily come back asking for more character development or descriptions of setting or explanation of motives -- all the things that can also be considered "extraneous" and cut out.

Yes, that 180,000-word manuscript needs to be cut in two. Yes, that 40,000-word manuscript needs to bulk up. Between these extremes, however, lies a huge gray area. If it was straightforward to figure out, more people would do it. It isn't. Name-brand authors don't always do it. And you expect it of new authors?

That, ultimately, is what an editor is for. One of the bennies of getting a publishing contract is to have a real editor go over your MS and give you real editorial feedback. If I have to hire an editor on my own in order to make sure your editor doesn't have to do anything, why exactly do I need you?

Pepper Smith

One of the first things my editor did was tell me to go through and trim the excess. No matter how tight you think you've got it, there's always going to be extra wordiness and scenes that don't really need to be there. Got a crash course in self-editing, which was both a blessing and a curse. It's hard to turn it off in order to just write.

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