It’s Too Long

That’s what the agent told me. And this isn’t just any agent. This is Andrea Brown herself. President of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Like the top YA agency in the country. She wants to see my manuscript but, “It’s too long. Can you get it down to eighty-thousand words?”

“Of course I can.”

How the hell am I going to get a 108K word manuscript down to 80K words?!? Or at the very least, a word count that starts with the number 8. Well you start by taking out everything that isn’t absolutely essential to advancing the plot or developing characters. No matter how much you like the scene it has to go. Select – Delete. It’s quite easy really. Not!


But it is what I’m doing, one page at a time. Cutting what doesn’t need to be there, cutting repetitious information, consolidating where I can. And guess what? I’m not even halfway through the book and I’m under 100K words. And you know what? It’s making a better book. With each word that disappears, the pace increases and the tension gets a little tighter. At 85K words, with a new beginning, this MS is going to be a contender.

The funny thing is, I knew this years ago but for some reason I resisted. I was certain that my book was SOOOO good, word count wouldn’t matter. Either that, or the whole idea of being constrained in that fashion just annoyed me. Who were they to dictate my story length, blah, blah, blah. I can’t really say why but over the last year all those silly arguments just kind of evaporated. The conferences are helping but I think it has a lot to do with finding Terri and Taylor and them knocking some sense into my thick head. Thanks girls. Because like my manuscript, this is just taking too long.

Write vel intereo

About John

American, husband, father, writer, rocket scientist, soccer player, motorcycle rider, Christian, and proud of it.
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One Response to It’s Too Long

  1. Terri-Lynne Smiles says:

    This goes along with the Thomas Wolfe quote posted on Facebook just now by Marti Verlander, one of our new friends we met in Colorado: "What I had to face, the very bitter lesson that everyone who wants to write has got to learn, was that a thing may in itself be the finest piece of writing one has ever done, and yet have absolutely no place in the manuscript one hopes to publish.

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