2012_April_pencilsThis was very good timing. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner just ran an interesting post entitled ‘How to tighten your manuscript‘.

I, um … blush, shuffle feet … always seem to be facing this dilemma. After pitching sessions with agents at the recent Matera Women’s Fiction festival, I need to start cutting word count for my second manuscript.

For new authors of women’s fiction, most agents and publishers are talking about a word count rage between 75,000 and 95,000 words.

What’s a verbose girl to do?

Luckily, this post came along at the right time. In addition to more substantial edits, in winnowing down word count, it also helps to:

  • Eliminate or minimize adverbs. Choose strong verbs instead.
  • Cut out those filler words. (There’s a helpful list of those pesky words that keep creeping into our writing)
  • Root out passive voice
  • Pare down dialogue to its most essential elements.

And you, writers? Do you spend lots of time editing down your word count? What are your tips and suggestions?