Apr 252018

Not the stop doing that cut that out. I mean cut something out of something. In this case, a manuscript with too many pages. Way too many pages. OMG, too many pages.

One of my works in progress is a science fiction romance entitled The Star Tripper. [Think Xena, Warrior Princess meets Star Trek meets Pirates of the Caribbean.] I aimed for 400 pages worth of manuscript. Star Tripper topped out at 598. Whoa. Talk about verbose. Apparently, I write the way I speak—too much and too long. ::sigh::

Star Tripper needed a trim. A few months back, I went through it to cut here and there, hoping it would do the trick. It didn’t. I was too emotionally attached to my brilliant prose to eliminate very much of it, and I didn’t make a dent. I cut only ten pages. Major fail.

Something, maybe many things, had to change. My work habits for one. I took some advice I received at a recent Mid-Michigan RWA luncheon program [Thank you, Darcy Woods!]. I ignored my email. ::gaaahhh:: I weaned myself off social media. ::gasp:: I turned off my Wi-Fi connection altogether. ::gulp:: I stopped watching TV. ::funny, didn’t miss that:: I did it all cold turkey and it was amazingly freeing.

I needed to change my mindset too, obviously. I was far too enamored with every word I wrote. Not long ago, I did some editing for an online publisher. I was objective and professional with the work of others. It occurred to me that I need to adopt that attitude when editing my own work. I needed to be objective. I needed to be ruthless. I needed to be page-slashing Machete Woman.

On my first day as my new persona, Machete Woman, I cut five pages from chapter one. On the second day as my new super hero MW, I cut five pages from chapter two. That was as many pages total as I cut during my first round of cuts. Wow! On day three, I cut four pages from chapter three. I cut four pages from chapter four on day four. Yay, me!

Last night, I revised chapter twenty-two, cutting seven pages, my best effort to date. As of yesterday, my total of pages cut is eighty-six. I have twelve more chapters to go, and the new me is rocking the cutting.

Machete Woman rules! 

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