It really is starting to feel like a death-march, this manuscript edit I’ve been working on. Bits of the story have been fighting back, tooth-and-nail. The epilogue, in particular, was bad-tempered and unruly. And we won’t even talk about how many instances of the word “that” I’ve removed from the story. (Well, we might, at some point. After I’ve had a chance to tally them up. But I bet the number is in the hundreds, and not necessarily the low hundreds.)
I’ve slaughtered adverbs with reckless abandon. I’ve pared prose down to its barest essentials. I’ve murdered darlings and excised sub-plots. And still, the story weighs in at right around 144,000 words. Aaugh! I had visions of getting it down to 125,000, but I just don’t know what else to cut out. There really isn’t much left that isn’t vital to the plot (at least to my mind). No doubt a professional editor would be able to spot the excess bits right away, but I’m not a professional editor. I’m just the person who has been staring at this manuscript for the last two months, until my eyes are ready to fall out of my head.
But I think I’m finally on the home stretch, for this edit of this story, at least. I’ve no doubt that there are bits that could be polished a bit more, but right now, I can’t see what those might be. So I’m taking one last skim through the whole story, sweeping up a few last “thats” as I go. My goal is to get it out to beta readers by early next week. And then…barring any major changes…it’ll be time to start agonizing over the synopsis.
Has anyone else ever had a manuscript edit that seemed to go on forever? Got any survival tips to share?