Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tip O'Day for Writers #135

Guest blogger Kathleen 'Kat' McLaughlin on the dreaded edit-to-cut-word-count.

If you face the dilemma of reducing your word count, there are several things to keep in mind when revising your manuscript. Of course, the obvious is deleting the word 'that' since in most cases 'that' isn't necessary. Using gerunds eliminate unnecessary words, but don't go overboard. Reword sentences to eliminate prepositional phrases. Use contractions unless a character's first language isn't English; not using contractions gives flavor to a foreign character in lieu of speech patterns clogging the dialogue, making it difficult for the reader to understand.

The most important rule is not to rush revisions or you'll end up revising more times than necessary. Slowing down the revision process will sharpen your editing skills. Carving sentences and sculpting words lowers your word count, and raises the quality of your writing. You might even find passion for the art of self-editing.

Kathleen 'Kat' McLaughlin is an aspiring writer who is working on the final revision of, BLOOD CLOUDS, the first manuscript in the Jordan Ireland Series. Connect with her through her blog (http://kathleenkatmclaughlin.wordpress.com/), Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/KatMcLaughlin), or email (kathleenjeanemclaughlin@hotmail.com).

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