It's a Small World

Some places are smaller than others. I have a medium to large home, lots of space for me and the kiddies to collect clutter and leave crap lying about. Other people aren't so lucky. They need to utilize every last molecule of space. Really make it count.

Take Gary Chang, and architect from Hong Kong, for instance.

Now that's the best use for space I've ever seen, seriously. Wow.

I guess that makes us architects of writing. I mean, we need to get a whole lot accomplished in our words. Sometimes more than a publisher gives us space for. So we have to make our words aerodynamic and ergonomically correct.

With my first novel, I didn't worry about words, wrote till my fingers were like to fall off. (They didn't, don't worry). I ended up with a simple romance that was, take a breath people...175,000 words. Holy yikes is right. After getting acquainted with some great websites for writers, I tightened that baby down to about 110k. Then I stuffed it into the bottom drawer of Word. It was my first, after all, best to be buried and forgotten after something better came along.

Something better, the current WiP, stands "finished" at about 90k. This one is a romantic suspense, and has triple the good stuff going on that the first did. But, I made every word count. Or tried my damndest too, at least. Got rid of plenty of pesky had's and that's, ohhh, and lots and lots of those hellish road pavers we writers refer to as adverbs. But, mostly I worked my butt off to use strong verbs and Keep It Simple (I'm not stupid - okay, whose the joker snickering in the back row...).

So how do you KIS (you're not stupid either, my good friends)?


Slamdunk said...

Wow, thanks for sharing that video. Gary did nothing short of a miracle with that place.

Summer said...

Whoa, that video! Cleaning that place must be a pain, though, huh?

I've always been boggled at folks like yourself who just bang out 150-300,000 words on their first go-round. I'm lucky if I can average 75-80k. Don't know what that means about me...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm getting better at tightening my stuff by removing unnecessary words. Only thing is, I've had to improve my writing by adding more description of setting, so my word count is creeping up. But at least it's not due to excess baggage. :)

Elizabeth Poole said...

My first attempt at a novel clocked in at 150K...and it wasn't even finished. I had no idea about word count or any of that. I just kept writing.

Now I know better, and I still have word count issues. I tend to throw in every subplot and twist I can think of, and then I have to weed it out during revision. I also write lots of stutter words too, like "a little" and "just" and "that".

When you get rid of all of the flab, the effect is apparent. Thanks for the great post!

Tara said...

SD - I thought that vid was too awesome not to share.

Summer - I don't know, my house feels like 10k sq ft when I clean, lol.

I'd say it means you make every word count ;)

Stina - That is exactly the same boat I'm in, girl. I get it!

Elizabeth - Flab, what a great way to put it!

Alexandra Crocodile said...

I have the opposite problem, I can't seem to make my stories long enough:) But I do try to make every word important, and not just stuff in all kinds of adjectives to get the word count up!

Crystal Cook said...

That is awesome that you wrote all those words! Even if they weren't as great as you wanted, still. . . Impressive!!

I try to keep it simple, I'm not sure if I succeed. Mostly by cutting out background history as much as possible.

Great job with the new romantic suspense! Sounds awesome :)

Julie Dao said...

What an amazing video. I watched it twice - architecture has always fascinated me. WOW - 175,000 words on your first rough draft! I don't think I've ever written that many words of a single project in my entire life! That's so great because you have so much to work with when you go back and revise :) Good luck with your current WIP!

Jai Joshi said...

I agree with you that no words should be wasted and every sentence counts. One of my goals is to make every sentence as good as I can make it.

With my first novel I had a massive word count that I gradually tightened. I'm so glad I went through that because it taught me the value of space and gave me the ruthlessness to cut out anything that wasn't necessary.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That apartment was amazing.
My first works wasn't overlong, but I had to tighten up the dialogue a bit.

Ann Best said...

First of all, it's great when you have such a long manuscript to pare down. Which means that you didn't let some inner censor stop you as you let the words fall from your fingers. It's easier, I think, to cut than it is to add to. Sounds like you learned some essential techniques when you rewrote your current WIP. Good luck! And thank you for checking out my blog. Now I'm your follower.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great video. :) And I'm pretty brutal about getting rid of words that don't belong. I have been for a while now, so sometimes it seems to me I need more words. :)

Alyson said...

The guy in that video is a genius! No room for clutter or junk = neat and tidy space. I really have to watch my writing because I tend to go around what I'm trying to say rather than just saying it. Doing that helps keep the word count down.