Having to Cut Down on a Manuscript

Sigh. I hate it when I have to take out a bunch of words, though I’m sure some will improve the pacing. But some….maybe not. One of the things an editor changed was my comment about some people being shorter in an earlier century–referring to an antique Napoleon bed in the story. It was one that I’d seen in a showcase home and it definitely was for someone smaller. So the editor changed it to all people–well, not all people were shorter back then. My Scots and German ancestors were tall. And when I looked it up, I found an article about how the Scots were averaging 6-7 feet much earlier on in height and were shrinking in size now! My daughter-in-law had a mother who was Korean, so shorter, but her father was from the Netherlands and he and his ancestors were taller. She has his genes and has a taller stature.

So I changed the statement back to the one I’d made. Another bone of contention was a drug bust. I had too many criminals (3), and too many agents (not really specified–just one named who is a wolf and part of their wolf pack). It was a quick scene, no one really mentioned except the officer giving them their rights and another field testing the drugs, and the wolf. If you have millions worth of cocaine that the criminals are trying to retrieve, how many guys do you send? One? How many law enforcement officers? One?

It’s a work of fiction. My editor always says it must be realistic. (I write about werewolves, just for those who don’t read my books. *smiling*) To me, writing that only 1 or 2 bad guys come to pick up the cocaine is unrealistic. And law enforcement would not send a cop or two to grab them and the drugs. I watch all kinds of true crime scenarios, news reports of local drug busts and this works. Cutting back the number of people, who are not really mentioned in any detail, would be unrealistic.

My next big issue is the value of a couple of antique vases. No. Not creditable. But I researched all this when I wrote the story, so I just added 7 links of the sale of these period pieces and the amount they sold for. Some were nearly twice what I’d “sold” mine for! I priced them too low!

So I’m back to trimming. Wish me luck!

And have a super fun day!!!


“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
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4 thoughts on “Having to Cut Down on a Manuscript

  1. Wow hoooo “tears and hiccups ” it most be very frustrating when a writer is told they have to trim their stories….
    I have a couple of question maybe dumb ? Who/What are Editors? are they Writers?
    never understood how the Words count came to be? you share you have wrote so many thousand words and have so many more thousands to go. I know on your PC you have the program that counts the words you type. what I don’t understand is the before start writing a story you already know how many words you need.
    Have a great day.

    • Having trouble with my internet connection! The editors are not writers. They can make some excellent suggestions and help to eliminate mistakes, but sometimes they’re wrong. I don’t make a list of places I’ve researched though, and some I know from my own experience. I don’t want to make a long list of links for stuff they might not ever question. I was really surprised at the editor for questioning the price of the antique vases when a search would bring it up easily. Yes, it seems unreal, but that’s what made it fun to add to the story.

      In one story, I had issues with an editor about my German relatives making bathtub beer. The editor said that it was gin because that’s what she found on the internet. My German relatives made bathtub beer. They didn’t share this on the Internet. It was during Prohibition. 🙂 And another time, I mentioned something that was high tech, that they were using in several movies. But it’s not real! So the editor told me I could have used the technology. I sent her a link that said it was movie science fiction. lol

      On the word count. Our minimum is 80,000 words, so that’s what I shoot for. And as I write the story, it’s invariably longer when I flesh out the story more. I try not to write too long, or they’ll make me cut it. 🙂 You write as long as the story needs to be, normally, but printing costs, etc, means keeping it in line with what they’re willing to publish. Have a beautiful day and stay warm, Lola! 🙂 <3

  2. I’m with Lola, we need some writer 101. Are editorials merely suggestions? Editors must read all kinds of subject matter, some of which they have little knowledge or interest.

    • Yes, the editorials should be merely suggestions, but sometimes they delete passages and then I have to accept or reject them. Some are okay, if they’re repetitive or unnecessary. But some are really important, or they’ll change it and it’s not my voice at all, or the change is inaccurate. I have to remind myself that my name goes on the book, not theirs. I had an editor once who rewrote nearly the whole book in her voice! I rejected her changes. It wasn’t that she was being mean. She thought she was being helpful. But if anyone had read it? They would never have believed I’d written it. And with all the changes she had made, I wouldn’t have. Just the plot and characters. She did it with everyone’s books, so it wasn’t just mine.

      And yes, definitely, some editors don’t get my world. I have to remind them that these are wolves. They are loyal, family-oriented, pack-oriented. They will go out of their way to help others. Something that maybe humans won’t do. But I have to base the stories on their lifestyle, not ours. 🙂 <3 I had the question: wouldn't the police sketch artist do the drawing of the shooter during duty hours. She's a wolf. The investigating detective, who's a wolf, asked her to get the sketch from the injured victim, who is also a wolf. So no. If a wolf asked another wolf to help a wolf find an assailant, they wouldn't wait for police duty hours to do it. :) That's my world, and I'm sticking to it. lol Thanks, Tom! :)

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