The edits for SAPPHIRE FLAMES have landed. The good news is that our editor liked the book. The bad news is that it’s 108,000 words and it needs to be closer to 100,000.
In the mixed-bag news, there are no obvious places to make a large cut. Typically, the easiest way to make large cuts is to drop a character or condense the plot, but in this case, everything that’s in there has to be in there. We are dropping Munoz, which is a small scene, but the rest will have to come from line edits. Meaning we will be checking for contractions and rewording things on a sentence level.
To quote Jeaniene Frost, who bravely suffered through the manuscript, “I marked some extra sentences through the middle of the book, but in the last quarter, you are screwed. There is nothing to cut.”
This is one of the simpler but more labor intensive edits. The only edit that’s more in depth is a voice edit, where the character doesn’t sound right. That one requires a complete rewrite. This one requires going through every sentence, trying to make it shorter.
You know that part when Arland talks about going into battle every day on Nexus, healing in the evening, and then going back out? It’s going to be a bit like that, because we have 2 weeks to accomplish this. So for the next two weeks, this blog will be a post-battle licking of the wounds. You have been warned.
Lisa JG says
This sounds like running your whole book through a Twitter filter. My deepest sympathies. Good luck!
Jean Burkley says
Warning noted. Anticipation building. Good luck.
I don’t understand why an extra 8,000 word makes such a big difference to the editor. Can’t they just leave aloneness?
Cheryl Goralnick says
+1. More is better!!
+1. I mean, if it’s all good stuff, can’t it be left as is? No one’s going to complain about more book to read.
Oh! Back to the grindstone! “In the last qtr, you are screwed”! Well, we’re all cheering you on, even if you can’t actually hear us. 🙂
Happy (is that possible?) Editting!
Best wishes on the editing. While I’m happy to read more words by you, I do notice excess verbiage in books (just finished one by a writer I normally love, but there was too much repetition, in particular of adolescent posturing, in this book). I appreciate your efforts more than I can say.
Louisa Paarsmarkt says
You mean the scene posted in “On Rants, Well Deserved Nature Of?” A moment of silence for a funny scene/interesting character. Wishing you strength, endurance and patience with the editing!
I happy that your editor liked the book. May I ask why this book should be closer to 100 000 words, why the current length is a problem? Good luck with the edits!
An Avon paperback is about 100K. I suspect that’s the established size with the printer and a set price point. 🙂
Robin Šebelová says
Will there be any chance to read cutted scenes with Munoz?
Can we pay an extra $1 for the extra 8,000 words??? (Just kidding. I know that’s not an option and you have to work within their parameters. BUT I TOTALLY WOULD PAY EXTRA. Just saying.) Good luck with the edits.
Amy K. says
I know you’re kidding but I could see potential in a “Special Edition” version of a book coming out. It would be a good way to sell a book twice! But the only precedent I can think of in books was an extra-long edition of The Stand.
I would totally pay Extra for the Author’s Cut.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. 🙂
Roxanne Chin says
Thank you for the reply. Looking forward to reading this book. Hopefully the edit isn’t too painful.
I would also like to know why word count is such a “Big Thing” (you have mentioned having to shorten manuscripts several times before, IIRC). I would understand it if the text was overly repetitious or unnecessarily wordy, but even in such a case the word count would only be a symptom of the underling issue. IMHO you are sufficiently established and your books/manuscripts (probably) of an above average quality that I would expect the target word count to be more of a suggestion than a hard limit. Having to do a sentence by sentence shortening just to meet some arbitrary count seems unnecessarily strict to me.
Word count is a big thing because word count affects the production costs (paper, ink, binding) and therefore that final price of the book. The publisher and the marketing department have a set range that puts the break even sales point at a figure they’re comfortable with.
It may seem arbitrary, but there’s a lot of math and data involved.
While it may seem arbitrary from the outside, there is a lot of math and data that goes into the word count limits.
Basically, word count affects production costs (ink, paper, binding), which in turn affects price of the book. The publisher (and marketing department) figure out the best length range for the break even sales (how many copies they need to sell before they start making a profit) figure that they feel comfortable with.
Brent S. says
The word count limits are determined by a lot of math and data. The publisher creates a range that sets a break even sales figure that they’re comfortable with (taking into account that word count affects production costs–ink, paper, run time on printers, binding).
I am also one of those people who doesn’t understand why word count is such a big deal. I will gladly pay an extra buck to get those 8000 words! Also, wasn’t “White Hot” a little on the long side, too (not that I am complaining)? It’s listed as having 421 pages, while for Sapphire Flame the preview says 384 pages… so it should be possible to fit those extra 8000 words into 40 pages. I already hate the idea of vital parts of the story being removed because of word count!
Hear, hear! Increased cost for extra delight. Ok by me!!
Best of wishes for the editing.
Pat Sciarini says
Good luck! What is the impact if the word count goes over? Just curious.
Brent S. says
It changes the production costs, and therefore the price of the book. The publisher has a range that works for them to achieve a break even sales figure (how many copies they need to sell before making a profit) they’re comfortable with.
That sounds like a serious mission! What if we all offered to pay a bit extra lol
I wish you both the smoothest time with this edit possible! 🙂
Jocelyn J Malone says
Heh, the editor in me actually kind of enjoys that kind of work, but I totally understand why it would be exhausting and frustrating for you! Good luck and may the caffeine be strong.
Brent S. says
As an instructor, tutor, and editor, I’ve greatly enjoyed helping people cut word counts.
Apparently there’s something wrong, or masochistic, with me. 🙂
I just finished edits for book two. I’m relieved I didn’t have to cut because that is so much harder. 🙁 Good luck! And if you need another set of eyes, you have my email. ??
Hello! I just preordered your book!
And Ilonas of course!!
Thank you so much! ? And I, too, have Ilona’s book on preorder. That way it shows up on my Kindle like magic, a gift for future me. ?
Patricia Schlorke says
When I saw this post, I went to B&N, saw Aurora Blazing on pre-order, and ordered it. I’m currently reading Polaris Rising. ?
Just confirmed I had already pre-ordered Aurora Blazing (thanks for reminding me of the title, Patricia; saved me some searching on Amazon).
It’s a good thing Amazon keeps track of what I’ve already pre-ordered. This would have been at least the third time I would have pre-ordered Sapphire Flames if they hadn’t told me I already ordered it.
Sara T says
All of Ilona’s and Gordon’s books are auto buy for me. 🙂
I have also pre-ordered Aurora Blazing. Can’t imagine having to wait 6 months for this book!!!!!
I am certainly enjoying The Queen’s Advantage in the meanwhile.
Yeah! Book 2! This blog is what led me to Polaris Rising, so I’m excited to hear the next is moving along. Something else to mark on my calendar 🙂 And thank goodness Amazon lets me know when I’ve already pre-ordered something or I would end up with about 5 copies of all of the Ilona Andrews’ books!
Why can’t they just let you publish the extra 8000 words?
I’d be willing to pay more for the extra 8,000 words!
Same! Take my $$$!
Tina in NJ says
Hang onto the Munoz scene. You might be able to squeeze it in in the next book, or maybe book 3. I liked the scene, personally, but it obviously wasn’t integral to the story. It did show an interesting side of Catalina ‘s personality, though.
Tiger Lily says
I would love to have the extra words. I was rereading Magic Triumphs last night with a focus on all of the scenes that Conlan was in. Usually I am not one to enjoy much about babies or toddlers but those scenes are gems. Granted, he is not your usual toddler but still. . . I would love to have thousands of more words about that family.
Good luck on the edits(:
Glad they liked the book and aren’t demanding structural changes. Sorry that you have to go into tedious edits. Could you release a separate “director’s cut” version just online that has the extra 8K words?
…and now I am imagining the (co)director’s voice-over.
(Ilona gets a magic button that cuts Gordon’s mic and plays annoying music whenever he’s about to give away too much.)
Of course they liked the book…. it’s by Ilona Andrews 🙂
Sorry to hear you have to do the edits though. Editing out 7% through sentence condensing will be very trying. Good luck!
Hmm… that’s a lot of words. I would gladly pay more too because your words are usually gold. Rooting for you and wishing you creative reduction.
Well this annoys me considerably. I am all for cutting out endless repetition or general waffling but when an
established author has to start cutting perfectly decent scenes and trying to shorten sentences to meet some imposed word limit the publishers have mistaken their job. It’s obvious from this comments section that most of us would be happy to pay more for the full length story so what possible reason can the publishers have to insist on this pointless and possibly story-detrimental trimming? If they can publish 600-800 page books that are 70% weapons statistics then they could publish Sapphire Flames as written. Definitely irked.
1) They would have to raise the price.
2) It would mean getting different typesetting.
3) The contract specified 90-100K, so we are at fault. 🙂
Omg, yes!! I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve started skipping whole pages of weapons descriptions from a previously favorite author (who shall remain unnamed). His books just keep getting longer, to the very real detriment of the plot and characters.
How much are we talking price wise? I would be willing to pay right now if they leave the word count alone. Can’t the book just be put in the 100-110K slot? Why is Avon so inflexible?
I appreciate that you are the ones in breach of contract but really think your publisher is making a short sighted mistake by insisting on holding you to it. If you’d put in waffle and repetition then fine insist on cuts but if the story is as tightly written as you say then it’s a mistake for them to be inflexible. The price rise is unlikely to affect sales going by the BDHs comments and while I can appreciate the typesetting issues as my father is a typesetter, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker it should just be a factor in calculating the additional cost. I for one would rather pay more and read the book that you think is your best effort not the publisher’s abridged version.
Currently adding Avon to my, “enemies list” for costing me 8000 words from Ilona Andrews.?
Lol, count me in. I know it’s a contract but really……
Oh Ilona going back to your post about hair products, I discovered Oribe which is the best product I have ever used on my hair. There are lots of videos on the website which give a feel for the products, and one on curly hair. It’s not cheap but, for the results I’m seeing, I feel it is worth it. https://www.oribe.com
If you’re talking about 8,000 out of 108,000… well, I have no doubt you can find some places to condense a bit, but that strikes me as not a huge difference… 100k to 108k… That’s a bit nit-picky, but they are the publishing house… ::wishing if I could explain to them how little this matters to me as a reader especially given I have willingly and happily soldiered through much longer books up to and including Mists of Avalon::
Ah well, I hope it goes as easily as it can for you!!
Good luck! Sending you guys good vibes. See you on the other side of the battle!
Anne in Virginia says
Where (and what) is the Munoz scene? I must have missed it…and the character?…somehow. Can someone send me a link to the blog section? And like others, I would certainly pay more for more words!
Anne in Virginia
Anne in Virginia says
Thank you so much. The BDH always comes through.
Anne in Virginia
Good luck! It’s like you’re awesomeness is working against you in this case, since it is what it is at 108K! ? hope battle is kind.
Anna Stanford says
I don’t mind an additional 8ooo words…
8k out of 108k is about 7.4-ish%, if my calculator isn’t lying to me. How many pages does that amount to out of the total?
If we get a preference, I’m willing to do without the table of contents and dedication page. 😛
Where can we go to tell the publisher we want all the words. Sheesh.
Although, I’m looking forward to a treat later on. ?
Could we do a Go Fund Me and keep the extra, precious words? The books go by too quickly.
Colleen Thorsen says
I’m conducting a writing workshop for my students in a few weeks and one of the topics is writing concisely and clearly. This is MUCH easier to do in scholarly social science papers (my students) than in fiction. I wish you all the best luck! I once had to cut 2,000 words from an article I wrote because the reviewers wanted more information, but the journal had a hard limit of 6,000 words. It definitely was a bootcamp for editing. It made me a better writer, which I only appreciated months afterward!
Lora Tyler says
Whatever you send in is going to be awesome! I am sorrowful that some things have to be changed or removed. May we, the readers, be allowed to read the removed scene after the book is published? That would be great. I love your books and want all of your words. Is the number count a publisher rule? I believe you wrote about this somewhere before. Thanks for all y’all do!
I had to do similar when writing my honours project at uni….. You’d be surprised how many words you can save by swapping ‘and’ for full stops or commas! Although…… I wasn’t concerned too much for readability when i was in the final furlong of my project…… Probably different for you guys…!
I’d rather have a longer book to read. 100,000 versus 108,000… give me the extra 8,000 words.
Good luck with your edit. We will be here commiserating with you!
Go go go
Amy McDonald says
It sounds like so much work, but the rewards are worth it! I know it will be great, as it always is! I love everything you both write!! The fact that Jeanine Frost is another of my favorite authors is so cool, I love that you know her!!! I can’t wait to read this one!!
Good luck with your editing!
Though I really appreciate long books: there’s more story to read ❤️
I’d be fine with the extra 8000 words too. But the author lords are professionals, and the publishers actually have reasons for what they do. Usually. I know it will still be an excellent book, with or without the 8000 words. In the mean time, we are here to listen to any and all steam needed to be blown off in the course of edits. Or not, as serves your mental health needs best under a difficult deadline. I know we will be getting a good book, regardless.
Good luck, patience and strong tea / coffee!
This makes me think of some resumes I’ve read. The applicant tries to shorten the length by contracting the word “and” with “&” and other substitutions until the damn thing is unreadable. In the meantime, as a volunteer on the imaginary support crew, I’ll bring ripper cushions, bandages, and chocolate. Good luck.
Lynn Fitzgerald says
I pray for the added graces of patience, perseverance and intuitive inspiration in your rigorous editing task.
Lynda MS says
I understand the theory of publishing certain sizes of paperbacks (I disagree, but that is beside the point), I think presaging and backstory are very important in a series, especially one such as this one with multiple characters. Does Avon own the rights to all of Catalina’s story? Might the BDH get some or at least most of the missing material in a free online story or novella?
BTW: I may be in the minority, but I find it jarring when a character uses contractions in formal speech, especially if the society uses old-fashioned courtesy elsewhere (e.g. Lord and Lady). Speaking to a friend off duty is different from confronting a superior giving or taking orders or before a battle. I have noticed an increase in writers using contractions. Maybe this is a product of having to restrict the word count.
Oh man. That’s brutal. I mean I get that they have some magic reason why they have to have it a certain length but you’d think they’d have a little more flexibly. Particularly when the alternative is a brutal cut like this. I appreciate your slogging through the salt mines for us. May the editing gods smile upon you in your hour of travail.
Good luck, I write a lot of legal briefs in my job and we often run into the dreaded word count issue. It is a lot of work, my sympathies!
Hoping all the Feline and Canine members of your household help to keep your blood pressure down while going through the frustration of the editing. Too bad you can’t Wine during your Whining.
(We are all with you.)
So the book will be populated by people who speak tersely and would rather sneer than snark?
barbara stewart says
Just how many pages are in the book? The more the merrier since am used to reading books with a thousand pages. Is word count measured in inches? Reason for asking is that I recently read The trouble with Tribbles by David and forgot last name. This was a behind the scene look in how the show was done. Would not believe how many times, he had to rewrite. One was because it wasn’t long enough and then it was too long. His typewriter used 12 characters per inch while the studio used 10, and he had 3 pages too many then. So maybe can change type size from pica to elite?
Was very good at shortening articles when I was in high school though this was a very long time ago. So if you need another person to help with editing, more than willing to help.
One more question about shorter sentences, does this mean leaving out the, and, but, and other similar words?
Last name Gerrold, I believe. He wrote other things, but was best known for “The Trouble with Tribbles”.
Good luck with the edits. I hope you’re not too exhausted by the end of it!
I believe there’s about 500 words on a single spaced typed page. I don’t know how many in a romance novel. So sixteen or more pages too many for Avon. That would increase the retail price to near nine bucks U.S. currency. Avon knows the market for Ilona Andrews books. And, there’s the contracted word count. Munoz won’t be missed. What’s Conlon’s age, and what’s Wing’s pet’s name? So another thirteen pages to cut. I feel the pain.
barbara stewart says
That’s the name, lot of humor and moaning in the book.
So we’re talking about a 200 page novella and another 16 pages for the 8000 words and about 4 pages for front of the book. Must not be the right count. Amazon is saying that it will be a 384 page book. This would be a book .
As for the print industry, sections are usually 24 or 48 pages. Might go down to 16 pages less than that becomes too hard to run.
Good Luck! It must be hard to do some of these big cuts to all your hard work. Hopefully it will go smoothly.
Karen Orrence says
Noooo, don’t cut it….all those precious words and hard work you all put in! Just tell your publisher to make the font smaller……hahhaha! Good luck with the edits. I really enjoy your books. Thanks for the wonderful stories and characters.
You have my complete sympathy. I used to review professionally, and had a strict limit of 170 words – including the publication info, a synopsis without spoilers, and a critical analysis. I learned to be very concise, but it’s not easy or fun.
I feel you…… I had that issue in a smaller scale for homework, essay, anything that involves writing and words count…. sometimes it would take me 2 hours juste to cut 50 words… so I totally feel you…. GOOD “LUCK” ! FIGHT FIGHT! \o/
That was not supposed to be a reply to another comment sorry T.T
I know whatever you do it’ll be awesome
Dottie K says
I wish we could have all 108k words. 🙂
Wait, I do not understand, what is wrong with 108.000 words?
(Please do not tell me that a reader who is willing to read 100.000 words would think that 108.000 are too much? Or would people stop reading a great book at 100.000 words, because enough is enough? I really do not understand this one…)
Aleta McO says
I don’t suppose you could point out to your editor that your readers LIKE longer books?
Yeah, guess probably not. (Still might be worth a try? I would be delighted with another 8000 words to read!!)
Best of luck!!
Gracie O’Neil says
What Aleta said.??But editors rule. We are cheering you on from the sidelines.
Colleen C says
Good luck! You got this! *insert all the motivational words here* Hope you can have some kind of fun reward for when you finish!
Ms. Kim says
108,000 words sounds perfect to me but then I love every word you guys write ?
Katherine Meservy says
Me too! Cut nothing!
+1, I would be thrilled for them to be able to leave it as is.
I will join this horde. The 8,000 should stay. Your book buying clan would gobble them up. Just think, you wouldn’t have to do all this literary surgery! We could hold a march, but…where? Stomps foot! We want them!!
Is there no appeal? Do they HAVE to have 100k? We’d be thrilled to read the 8000. #FreeThe8000
+1 We would totally love to read more!
But if cuts are to be done, could we have that Munoz scene if it’s not too spoilery? Or if it is spoilery, can we have it once the book is out? 😀
It’d be a shame to never read it since it was supposed to be part of the book and you did spend the time to write it.
I want the extra 8000 too!
Right? That was my immediate reaction
I would love the extra 8000 words to be in the book too!
Robin Moore says
donate the snippets you cut to us as might-have-beens.
Shlomi Harif says
I just finished slashing a manuscript from 176k down to 112k. I had to McFly entire families, make entire monologues fade like Beria in old photos. Great, GREAT I TELL YOU! lines, paragraphs, and scenes bit the dust.
And now the editor wants more.
I feel y’all.
Ouch. That’s a lot of words to edit. We know it’ll be amazing when it’s finished, but in the mean time, good luck! May the odds be ever in your favor…
Kate Davenport says
It doesn’t sound like you could post your edits here for us to read as “extras.” But we can hope . . .
Oh yes I would love ? all deleted items
Can we have the option of reading the 108,000 book? ?
Why do they want to make it with less of a word count? Books come in many sizes! I have read books with 1000 pages that could have stood some editing, but if the story is good, why remove things just to remove things? I can understand if there is a reason, but if there is nothing wrong… why?
What is bad is when you can tell an author is trying to have enough words so they repeat themselves, phrases and things a lot! One book must have mentioned the blueberry between a character’s teeth at least 5 times… The sad thing is I don’t believe I am exaggerating and it could have been even more times mentioned! Or a 60 page sex scene… Yikes! I have also seen bigger or smaller fonts used… is that a tricky way to get around the word count if it has to do with how many pages they want for the book? I seriously doubt that is the case here which is why I wonder. Some stories may take more words to tell the whole thing.
Robin Moore says
how many characters count as a word?
That’s our only hope for those deleted scenes.
How about leave the words and increase the price. More pages = higher cost to produce which is the bottom line to any “for sale/profit” item. I’d rather have a fully fleshed out book that reads satisfyingly complete than worry about the extra few dollars it may cost. And that includes saving up for the extra cost!
Bill G says
We’re, sniff sniff sob, losing some of the book?
Lenore Kester says
Russ Brown says
Why is there a word count constraint on the first place? For publishing on paper? Maybe we could an electronic unabridged version?
Mary O'Maley says
Carrie R says
YESSSSSSS! Make the ebook an unabridged version.
I am truly confused, your books are popular and interesting, and in my personal opinion, awesome! why does your editor insist on a hard word limit? I know absolutely nothing of the publishing process so I am really in the dark. if your fans, the people buying the product, don’t mind or insist on a bigger word count, why not publish it?
I would also be very interested to understand the reason for needing to reduce.
The editor is part of the process. Hopefully for the better. That said, I’ll take the Munoz scene all day long!
I was also wondering this. I would gladly read a longer book by Ilona and Gordon. I do understand limiting book length. When I read the Harry Potter books in High School, I thought the later ones were way too long and needed editing. I ended up skimming the later books and even skipping parts because of that. The first three were shorter and better, in my opinion. But, isn’t there a happy medium? And, how do publishers decide what length a book should be?
Who decides optimum page count? We have the same problem in the movie business – but that I understand – running time over two hours means fewer showings per day and theater owners really hate that. (Then consider Gone with the Wind as a 90 minute movie – ick. On the other hand you have Spielberg movies that always run over because he has three endings and no editor wants to mess with him). Anyway, could you do a “special issue” like a dvd with “Director’s Cut”? All us nerds would buy it, would we not? I’d even pay extra…
That sucks 🙁
The only time I had to ponder so much on things that I wrote was my thesis and it wasn’t fun (though to be fair my thesis was on a short side of spectrum. I just needed this very polished conculusions section)
I don’t envy You.
The greedy part of me wonders if the cut scenes might be turned into snipets ?
That would be great
I humbly would offer my services to help trim. I just finished Ricard Dreyfus’s book on grammar and editing. I’m also currently unemployed having been terminated from the library so I have nothing but time.
Carrie R says
Brilliant plan! I volunteer to help, too. I have no relevant skills, at least not on paper, aside from being a lifelong reader. But, I’ll read it and the authorlords can just cut out my least favorite parts, lol.
Tasha A. says
Question from a non writer who spends her time dealing in the financial world but has no idea how the publishing world works!
I sorta understand why you can’t tell a publisher that a book will be 10ok words and deliver 50k. But what is wrong with 8k over ? Especially with 100k words? That’s like an extra 30-40 pages??
Nevermind just saw the answer to my question on the 1st page of comments! Should have realized there were more comments! Thanks for answering!
On to the breach!!
We love everything you guys write but I guess a big part of that is because you continually refine your work so what we get is awesome.
Intensive it may be but don’t forget to take care of yourselves too!
I feel your pain.
Been there, done that.
Line-by-line edits, grueling though they are, DO result in a tighter, more cogent copy – they really ARE worth all that effort.
But painstaking and grueling.
So … wishing all kinds of white “writer’s / editor’s light” around you as you crunch through the next two weeks.
And so looking forward to your final results!
We are there for you
Massive amount of sympathy- had to do this for my dissertation and it was hell on earth and I only had to cut 2000!! Good luck!
Thank you for cluing us in on how it works. I realize the word count is firm. Nothing can change the contract terms at this time. (Darn it! But I’ll live.)
Please hang on to a copy of this version, just in case you get the rights back some day and can do a “director’s cut”. The BDH would be drooling at the mere mention of one. I would consider this a great reason too buy something I owned already.
I’m beginning to think of Sergeant Muñoz like the FBI agent* in the Avengers movies. If nothing else, he’s a great “straight man”.
*I can only remember his name when I don’t need to – but I can remember David Gerrold’s name just fine. Today I can, anyway.
Can there be a PDF author’s edition with scenes not taken out? Like a director’s cut? Can’t wait!
What if the print version is 100,000 words and the e-book version is the original manuscript? Or release two e-book versions, the twin to the print version and the extended version and charge extra for the extended version. You’d be able to see if people really will pay for more words.
Your loyal fans want those 8,000 words. We really REALLY do!!! And, based on the comments, we’ll pay for them!
I would certainly pay for the extra words!
Personal feeling on this is that I have absolutely no issue with more words from you two. May grumble at your editor though, in a very polite way because I’m English. As always thoroughly looking forward to this book. Try not to be too stressed chaps ?
debbie richardson says
I get it, I truly do. You have a contract. They have costs associated with printing. But oh my God I want those 8000 words! My experience with you is that every one of them will be priceless. This right here is why I wish all authors could move to self publishing. Give me all the feels!
i wish you self published this so nothing needs to be cut out. i always want to read more from you, not less lol
Patricia Schlorke says
The dreaded contract rules… Booooo! Maybe in the future you could do a deleted scenes section like Nalini Singh did for her book Heart of Obsidian. Or have a “novella” online with the deletions.
Good luck with the edits. ?
Ms. Kim says
Do you have any rehashing of storyline from previous books you could delete?
Robin Moore says
Alas for the words that get cut.
Bleeck and bleeck. Something I tell my students while fighting word counts is the drop all the “that” s in your sentences, i.e., She liked to explain that the sentence was bleeck. Take out the “that.” She like to explain the sentence was bleeck. (This is hard to illustrate without bolds and italics.) I tell my students to use the Word Doc’s ‘find’ function and then check each sentence. Not sure that it would be a fast fix to get out a bunch of extra words on your writing, but it might help. PBB
Cherylanne farley says
You should auction off the extra words. I. Want. Every. Word. Editor’s. Pfft! Or in Conlan speak Baadaaba !
Everybody wants to be an author until they read about what being one is really like.
I’m an avid series reader, meaning that I want to read every book in a series and in order. So I really hate it when authors ( not our ALs) feel like they have to spend half the book
catching you up on characters and plot lines from earlier in the series.
I have often wished that they would just do a page of dramatis personae like a list of
Who are you and why do we care (what have you done and are doing to further the plot),
and in one line.
So while we truly hang on your every word, ALs, perhaps you might consider a list of characters like that to shorten it without hurting it, or driving yourselves nuts.
Another author uses the same mannerisms with every character when thinking, by tapping a mug with a spoon, or drumming on the table. Also the same dialog shows up whether it’s in
Victorian England, present day US, or on a planet in the future, far far away, the N.Y. phrase, “I’ve got news”, and “If you will recall”, and many more, are uttered by every heroine in every book.
You can’t tell the characters apart. Here is were I wish her editor would just cut out all this old stuff and publish what is left, namely, a short story.
If there is any internal dialogue that belongs to Nevada or Kate maybe that could be trimmed .
I’m wondering what editors do if they aren’t doing the actual editing. But I’m sure that authors would rather do it themselves.
Anyway, know that we love your books and whatever you do, you can do no wrong.
Annamarie Schmidt says
save it for your next one
Thank you for the insight into your authorlord pains. I am a huge fan of your books, and have used them to get through very difficult points in my life. All the best to you.
Judy Schultheis says
My final job was working as a secretary in a research lab. Among my other duties was submitting abstracts to professional conferences roughly three times a year. I didn’t write them, but I did edit them, and sometimes it came down to finding a way to get rid of just one character. There was always some way to accomplish what needed to be done, but it could take a couple of hours to find it.
Can we swamp your editor with demands for the whole 108K? What about 107K? That’s less…
Mary Carnahan says
I have no idea how publishing a book works, but, from my point of view, you already have 100,000 words, what’s 8,000 more? I’m pretty sure all your fans would love to read them. Does it cost more to include them? Maybe we could all chip in?
I like to try word searches for things that I know are my writing tics, my writing banes. For example, I overuse adverbs with the “ly” ending–actually, really, truly, verily, etc. etc and so I search for “ly” and ruthlessly prune those adverbs where they crop up in the word find.
Just a thought.
Also, I hope the Munoz section appears as a freebee in the “deleted scenes” part of the web page!
Modifiers. I do that too in my writing (scientific, so especially bad). I’ve never thought to do a word search though, I might try that out on my next manuscript!
I know you have to work within the confines of your publishers rules. Too bad they don’t understand that we, your fans, are eager to read however much you write. It could be 208,000 & we’d still want more. Good luck & try not to stress yourselves out too much!
d LM a says
OUTTAKES, can be fun but, if you are going to cut something it needs to be gone.
Sapphire Flames is the 2nd arc of an enjoyable series, where we watched this new H of H, big sis grow into being and learning what it means to be a House.
IF editors & publishers want ruthless adherence to their negotiated e-book word space usage. CUT the back story, that’s what the previous story arc is for!
CUT her growing pains( snippets show her resolution) SO minimize every bodies angst (villians don’t apologize) WHY make the protagonist (snot weep wail & or moan)
KEEP the fire we expect from this intense blue fiery tale, as you look for where to cut your fire break . . .
just think smoke eaters, dehydrated ember sparked relentless fighters . . . or you know
Arlen 2 weeks in his armor beaten battered bloodied attending the summit searching for a way
Gwan gyrl AL Rule Rock & triumph
I thought that’s what I said.
I would love to have the extra words. Is there any way your publisher could be convinced? Or maybe have two versions, and the digital version could be the full cut like they do movies ? I’d pay extra
George Bailey says
If a narrative is too “loose” or over bloated, cutting words make sense.
BUT if cutting words is ordered only for the sake of making a certain word count without regard to the story, that is “the tail wagging the dog” and very unfortunate for the story, the authors, and the readers, IMHO.
Well, charge up your blood swords and cut where you must … but not at the expense of your vision for the book.
Good luck and I look forward to this next installment in the history of one of my favorite worlds .
Chocolate and wine for strength, and good thoughts to carry you through the rough places during your edit process. As we theatre folk say, “break a leg”!
Deborah Armstrong says
We could start an email campaign….we all stand in front of a Douglas Fir that we wouldn’t mind sacrificing, each of us holding up signs that say “TAKE MY TREE AND FREE THE 8000!!
Lol! Thanks for the laugh
We have this in scientific writing. Abstracts have a specific word or character count and that’s part of why they can read so choppy. Some publications have a strict word limit so you write your manuscript then go through and try to drop random words. Do I really need “the” here? Can I get away without that “that”? Can I use two words not three? It’s amazing how quickly you can drop words that way. True our limits tend to be on the order of 1500 words not 100,000, but still.
Sounds like a labor intensive process, sending moral support and cheering you from afar! As always, thank you for keeping us updated.
I don’t understand, 8000 extra words are just about 16-17 extra pages right? Is that too much? It doesn’t seem too much. I can never get enough of your stories. Is there anyway you can let the extra pages remain? please, please, please… pretty please?
Alex R. says
Cut the print version down to 100k. Leave the extra words in the ePub version (maybe as a short related story at the end) and charge slightly more. Everyone wins.
Susan Johnson says
I go with all those who want the extra 8,000 words.
If the publisher says this part is a bit loose or something similar that would be OK but – it has to be 100,000 words, and that’s that. Crazy.
Am I the only one thinking she was just shy of 9000!!! I was really hoping to say “her word count is over 9000!!!!”
I want all the words!!! Having said that, best luck make shorter……
Ooohh, can I have those 8000 words? ?
Me also pleaseeeee
Me too! Bring it on!
Please Please Please!? Can we keep the 8k for the ebook edition?
Zaena Burdick says
I know! Its like when Soliari told Mozart he had too many notes in his opera…
Just a suggestion, but are there any characters that we haven’t met yet that have longer names? One way might be to modify someone’s name to a shorter one—eg Sanders instead of Sanderson? It wouldn’t affect word count, but might shorten the existing words giving you some leeway (not 100% how it works) and could be accomplished with a find/change.
Or if they have multi-part names, maybe cut one part?
Shannon from Florida says
I wish we could just pay more for the extra words!
I wish we could have all the words, not just because that’s what you wrote and everyone agrees its whats needed but also because this sounds less like good editing processes to tighten things up but more like a seventh level of hell for you. I’m sorry.
And as a fan i want all the words. :/
Anna Strait says
I also want all the words. JS
But, if you have to cut a scene, can it be posted so we can read it? Lol
Christine Ann says
While reading the extra words would not be a problem, it’s interesting that they need to be cut. I am wondering why. Maybe this is because too many words makes the physical book too large and it would be harder to produce?
And, congrats on almost being done! While a potentially time consuming and frustrating edit has emerged – it also sounds like your draft has been recognized as an excellent tale.
Sandra E. says
Wonder if they would let you cut from the paper book version and leave the words in in the e-book and audiobook version.
Or cut the prologue and leave an address to a post on this blog so that people can read it here.
I am excited to read the next part of the story and dying with anticipation.
This might be a stupid question. But why does it have to be 100000 and not 108000? Why does the exact length matter so much? I’m sorry if this is the wrong place to ask, or if it’s rude to ask, that wasn’t my intention. I hope someone can answer me. Please bear with me if my wording is off, as English is not my native language.
I am naive as to why the word count number matters. I can understand ‘seems to drag on in this section’ but just ‘too many words’ doesn’t make sense to be. As a member of your BDH more words == more yummy for me. Kind regards
Hey, guys – (Iben, Steph, and others)
Please check out the older comments. Ilona explains it there.
(I know. I’d love the longer version, too. Darn,)
Mary Carter says
But …. But …. Don’t they know that we want **all** the words ??
Nooooo. Don’t reduce the word count. We want ALL YOUR WORDS. Book company needs to print more pages,
Would you tell me why they would ask that you make a book shorter? Especially if story wise it works? I absolutely love long books and they seem to be very hard to find – I understand not adding filler just to make a long book but why deliberately force a shortened one?
Thank you Betty
In a previous life I wrote proposals. Several years ago we were working on a large proposal to the Government (yes, cap G) with a hard limit on page count. Since we were considerably over the limit we explored numerous options. One that was considered and actually attempted was splitting words using hyphens so that we could get a few more characters on each line. Microsoft has a feature that does something similar but at the time we were unaware of that capability. As a result we had a team of 8-10 highly paid consultants spending their time going through the massive document and adding hyphens to a word every line or two. Ultimately we found other ways to edit the document to reduce count and the consultants had to go back and manually remove thousands of hyphens. In retrospect, it was a pretty dum idea. My-advice-if-you-get-stuck-in-your-edits-is-to-try-using-hyphens-instead-of-spaces. That-way-you-have-a-few-very-long-words-rather-than-a-large-number-of-smaller-ones. When-the-editors-observe-your-creative-solution-they-may-cut-you-a-little-slack : )
Sara Joy says
Priceless view into capital G life!
Cheryl Bannon says
Just curious why there is a word limit? Is it to keep book at certain price ( page printing)? Thank you, I love so many of your series.
Darn editors, we WANT, no we DEMAND those extra precious 8,000 words! If it makes the books or ebooks a tad more expensive, so be it. Perfection must not be tampered with!
I am not Anonymous!
When I have to cut words for a brief, I always search for “by” and “of” and see if there are ways to drop certain passive voice and prepositional phrases.
Good luck! Word count battles suck!