Posted On November 28, 2011 by Print This Post

Cutting For Pace by Kate Walker

OK – Category Romance novels have very specific word counts  – so what do you do it you find you’re w-a-y over the word limit and your hero and heroine still haven’t got to the point of saying ‘I love you!’? Kate Walker offers advice on just where and how you should tackle the process of  Cutting For Pace – and how to make it less painful to ‘kill your darlings’. 

CUT FOR PACE

Category romances have very specific word limits. Many other types of fiction too specify or suggest a word limit and even if they don’t, it’s often a good idea to watch your word count carefully. Too long a story can ramble, have a sagging middle, and end seeming far too heavy with more details than are really needed. It does all of us no harm at all to check that we are not being self-indulgent and writing far more than we need to.

Here’s a question that I’m often asked – either exactly in this way or something very like it:

QUESTION: I’ve finished my novel and done a total word count – to find that I’m way over the limit. How does one cut 28 pages from a WIP?

Some years ago, I had an editor who was affectionately known as Ms C4P and the C4P stood for Cut-for-Pace. This is because when I – or any of her other authors – sent in a manuscript for her to read, inevitably, even if she passed it without any other revisions, it would come back with lines, paragraphs, sometimes even whole pages where she had put a pencil line down the side and the instruction ‘Cut for pace’. After a while working with her, I very soon started to hear her voice in my head when I was writing, and I would soon start cutting for pace even before I’d sent the manuscript off – sometimes even as I was writing the words – I would be erasing them as fast as I wrote them.

Cutting your work to meet the strict word count of a category romance novel can be one of the hardest things for an author to do. We put a part of ourselves into these stories, we love every word we’ve written – we believe every word we’ve put into it is vital, essential to the story – and oh, so eloquently written. How could anyone ever ask us to cut it back? But an editor will. If your work is over the word count limit, you’ll be asked to bring it under the maximum. If your story has lots of extra characters, events, secondary plots that are extraneous to the central romance, you’ll be asked to reduce them. If you have proportionally a lot more narrative than dialogue, you’ll be asked to change the balance to around 60% dialogue to 40% narrative. And even if your story fits exactly into the word count limit, very often a trained, objective, editorial eye will see places where the action slows, where the dialogue goes nowhere, where you repeat something you or your characters have said before, and her pencil will come out, a line will go through the passage and in the margin will be the words:

CUT FOR PACE

So how do you cut anything from a few hundred words to several thousand from your precious manuscript on which you’ve worked so hard?

First things first – you swallow your pride. You push away all thoughts of how much you ‘just love this bit!’ and you look at your work as coldly and objectively as you can. After all, that’s what your editor is going to do. She isn’t going to think, ‘Oh but she had such fun writing this,’ or ‘This is where she put in something that her DH said to her once – a secret message between the two of them’. No way. She’s going to decide that this doesn’t really contribute to the story or that has been said already on pages 34 and 78 and really we’ve got the point by now. And she isn’t going to be impressed by long, poetic descriptions of scenery or clothing or meals or the history of a particular place. To her it’s going to look like padding and the pencil will cross it out.

The best thing you can do is to try and get there first – to do much of the cutting for her. If you’re careful and clever then you’ll create a tighter, pacier read at the same time -you might even improve on the slightly saggy middle – and that will help to give your manuscript the best possible chance.

So what do you cut?

Cut anything you’re already said

If you have a point to make between you characters, make it once as clearly as possible and then leave it to stand. You can refer back to it briefly, but don’t keep belabouring the point. In short books like romances, even just one line repeated on several occasions can seem way too much.

Unnecessary description

Obviously you have to have brief descriptions here and there – what your characters look like – what they’re wearing – what the room they’re in looks like. But don’t waste time and precious words going into elaborate details. The sad truth is that more often than not a reader will skim over any detailed descriptions so as to get on with the good stuff – the relationship between your H & h – so you’re really wasting your time if you go into poetic descriptions. Make it short and sweet.

Dialogue that doesn’t make its point

Okay, so everyday dialogue is full of Good morning/How are you/Nasty weather . . . but you don’t have space or word count for that. You don’t really have the word count for any dialogue that doesn’t reveal one character to another. The conversations your characters have should add to their knowledge of each other, reveal facts about the conflict that has come between them, explain why things happened. They – and you – don’t have time just to pass the time of day. Make your dialogue count. And don’t constantly keep getting them to the point of revealing something and then breaking off and saying, ‘No – not now.’ No one in real life would let that pass again and again and it becomes irritating repetition.

Excessive introspection

Yes, the reader wants to know what your H & h are thinking – but keep it short, sharp and to the point. One problem with introspection is that it’s always in narrative – and it’s always telling, not showing. If you spend time having your hero reflect on how the way the heroine is behaving reminds him of how his mother always used to act in front of her many boyfriends and so he . . . before you know it, you’ll have lost the reader’s attention – and they’ll have lost their place in the dialogue. Keep introspection to a couple of telling sentences. If there is more that needs to be explained, then it should go into dialogue and be told to the heroine.

Introspection that has been done before, that doesn’t add anything new, that is indulgent

This is much like point number one – yes, your reader wants to get inside the H/h’s head and understand them – but we don’t need to know every last details of their life, their thoughts, their relationship with their parents and every single girlfriend/boyfriend they ever had. Only use introspection when it actually tells the reader something about the way the person is feeling now.

Elaboration on minor points/Elaboration full stop

The reason a reader has picked up a romance is because she wants to read a ROMANCE. She doesn’t want a travelogue, a history lesson. You may be a world expert on horse racing, or martial arts – but are the details you’re putting in directly relevant to the ROMANCE? If not, they are padding, and padding will weigh down and slow down your story.

Too much detail/dialogue/description/action involving minor characters who take away the focus from the h/h  and so diffuse the action. The story your reader wants is the story of the HERO and the HEROINE. They don’t want her sister’s troubles with her husband or his best friend’s long last girlfriend. Any time you spend away from the central story weakens that plot and so the focus of the book. Of course, this varies according to the different lines – a Superromance can afford to have more of a secondary plot and more characters than, say a Presents – but as a general rule, and certainly when you are trying to cut for pace, the main relationship should always be your focus and you can afford to cut back on the lesser ones.

Scenes that only show one thing and so could be combined with another to tell a couple of things in one go

In a restricted word limit, you don’t have time to detail everything and give everything its single focus in the spotlight. Use each scene to its best advantage by making sure that it shows something about your h&h and their story. Don’t just have one scene where the heroine finds a photograph of the hero’s dead wife – put that together with an argument that leads to her blurting out that she has been married too – unhappily – and the repercussions from that will lead into a sensual reconciliation . . .

Family – families often get in the way in fiction – and in fact!

Don’t however fall into the trap of feeling that you have to kill off all the heroine’s parents and relatives – that will just turn your book into melodrama. But families could interfere – a brother or father wouldn’t stand for the way the hero is treating the heroine – so set up a scenario where the heroine is working away from home – or living in another country – or Mum & Dad have gone on a round the world cruise and won’t be back till Christmas. Then you won’t have to have scenes in which things have to be explained to them.

Lovemaking scenes that don’t show any development – that aren’t different from the last one

The point about a sex scene is not just to show that your H&h fancy each other – they are there to mirror the development of the relationship and show the changes in it. If your word count is too long and you have some love scenes, however well written and erotic, that are really just a long-winded way of saying ‘they made love again’ – then why not just say that. Besides, too many repetitions of love scenes mean that even the most even passionate scenes lose their impact and become a bit too much the same. Don’t waste them. Make them count – or cut them.

Long, detailed ‘getting to know you’ that could be summarised into ‘and then he told her about…’

The H& h need to learn about each other, especially if this isn’t a reunion story – but you don’t have to have ALL the story – summarise – He told her about his childhood in Texas, the happy days before his mother died, the change that came after . . .’

Quite often if you show the beginning of the conversation – ‘Tell me about . . .’ then like a film would ‘fade’ – focusing again on the ending ;’ . . .and that’s why I came to live in New York . . ‘

Scenes that do not have the H&h together should always be looked at in case they’re not really needed.

This is another point on the focus of the plot – that central relationship. So even if a scene is the heroine discussing her relationship with the hero, if it’s with her mother/her best friend, it can probably be expendable and a shorter, more direct way of just stating how she’s feeling can be found.

Detailed telling of action that could become ‘with one bound he was free’!!!!

For example – if your hero has been captured and tied up – then finds a piece of glass and cuts through his bonds- again you only need the beginning ‘Twisting the glass awkwardly in his restricted grip, he began to saw clumsily . . . Two hours later the last strand finally parted. With a sigh of relief he rubbed his hands, wincing as he touched the places where the glass had slipped and nicked him.’

You don’t have to go into every last detail of how long it took, how he kept dropping the glass, how he cut himself . . . Leave that to the reader’s imagination.

Factual background that weighs down the action

– history of places/family histories/ clothing details/ training details

A romance isn’t the place to air your knowledge – you are telling a story never forget that.

Cutting always hurts – you’ve written it and you meant it to stay but….

The rule of thumb is – yes you may have written this wonderfully well – but is the fact that it’s well written enough justification for it staying in – what does it ADD to the book – if nothing/not much – why is it there?

***

RU Crew, do you have any pacing horror stories you’d like to share?

Thank you to Kate for being with us today. Join us on Wednesday when Mina Khan tells us why she decided to use exotic djinn mythology and multicultural characters in her debut book.

 

Bio: Kate Walker has been writing for  Harlequin Presents since 1986. In that time she has written over 60  novels.  Her books have been published in over thirty-five countries worldwide.

Her January release 2010 THE KONSTANTOS MARRIAGE DEMAND was recently awarded the Reviewers’ Choice Best Presents Extra  2010  by  Romantic Times magazine, and her 2011 title,  THE PROUD WIFE (March 2011) has just been nominated for the award this year. Her latest romance THE RETURN OF THE STRANGER  was published in Harlequin Presents Extra  in October. Coming up is THE DEVIL AND MISS JONES in March 2012.

Kate Walker is also the author of the 12 POINT GUIDE TO WRITING ROMANCE (Aber Publishing). A third edition is now in print  which is also  available on KINDLE..

Kate Walker  has an MA in English from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and worked as a Children’s Librarian before concentrating on writing full-time. She runs writing days and weekend  workshops on fiction and in 2012 she will be teaching a week-long residential  course on  writing romantic fiction at The Watermill in Posara, Tuscany. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Romance Writers of America, has taught several times at the RNA Conference and reads and critiques for their New Writers’ Scheme. She is married with one grown up son.

Her web site is at: http://www.kate-walker.com

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Discussion

47 Responses to “Cutting For Pace by Kate Walker”

  1. Hi Kate, this was fascinating. An interesting glimpse for a non-writer such as myself.

    Posted by Mary Preston | November 28, 2011, 2:37 am
  2. Excellent advice, Kate.

    I’ve finished the first draft of a short story and found that I was giving way too much description or padding for a shortie! It’s a bad habit that I’m hoping will stop the more short stories I write. Hopefully it’ll translate to the longer ones too and help with their pacing.

    Thanks for making this an interesting blog tour.

    Posted by Xandra James | November 28, 2011, 3:49 am
    • Hello Xandra – I’ve always found that short stories are difficult – the shorter format means you have so little room for padding. Even less than in a romance. You have to focus on what makes the story pacy and not add in things that don’t carry the story forward. That works no matter what the length of the writing

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 11:29 am
  3. Great post Kate! I love your book, “The 12-point Guide to writing Romance” – it’s a keeper!

    Robin

    Posted by Robin Covington | November 28, 2011, 5:34 am
    • Helo Robyn – and thank you! I’m glad you found the post helpful and I’m really glad that you love the 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance. One of the great things about this tour has been meeting people who have found my book helpful and it’s really great to know that it has helped so many. Thank you for letting me know.

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 11:30 am
  4. Hi Kate,

    I cut 25,000 words out of a WIP. It was tough love. It got rejected anyway. I guess it was the wrong ones.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | November 28, 2011, 6:08 am
  5. I’m not laughing about the rejection, I promise! The rejection stinks, but at least you found the humor in it. 25,000 words is a lot!

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | November 28, 2011, 7:02 am
  6. Hi Kate. Great post! Do you think as we grow as writers it becomes easier?

    I feel like when I’m working on something new, I’m getting better at isolating the darlings that need to be killed. :) I used to not be able to bring a first draft of a single title in under 100,000 words. The draft I just finished came in at around 95K. I still think there’s some room to cut there and I’ll probably find it when I go back through the draft.

    Thanks for hanging out with us today.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | November 28, 2011, 7:06 am
    • Hi Adrienne – nice to ‘meet’ you here. And thank you at RU for inviting me along today. – To answer your question – does it get beasier? Does anything in writing get easier? Sometimes I wonder.

      But yes, the techniques of understanding when you’re being a bit self-indulgent etc do grow stronger when you have more experience. I now find that my internal word counter can be amazingly accurate – the word count for a Presents Romance is now 50,000 and as I wrote the last words of my last submission (The Devil and Miss Jones) it came in at 55,045! Pacing is so very different now from when I first started in 1986! It used to be possible to add in more detail but today things tend to be pared down more to the essentials. So as I’ve written more, I’ve had to adapt – but I think that keeps me on my toes and makes me take care not to add things or dwell too long on things that should be ‘cut for pace’.

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 12:20 pm
  7. Thanks for this very helpful information, Kate!

    I want to imprint this one on my brain:

    “Scenes that only show one thing and so could be combined with another to tell a couple of things in one go”

    As to the family issue, in my current WIP the heroine starts out with no family and ends up with too much. I’m finding it easier when she has family to bounce things off on, because she’s a little introspective when she’s on her own. A problem I haven’t solved yet!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | November 28, 2011, 8:10 am
    • Hello Becke – I’m so glad you found this article helpful. You’ll highlighted an interesting point – I’ve often found when I’m critiquing that beginner writers tend to focus on one thing per scene so that the book ends up with a sort of ‘we deal with this – and then this – and then that. . ‘ feel. And it can mean that only one character is realy feeling things. But combining a couple of points builds the tension – and the emotional impact of a scene, with both the H and the h feeling their personal things.
      Oh – and family! I sometimes wonder if we would ever really discuss things so much with our family/best friend as heroines seem to do – I know I wouldn’t! This is one of those things where we need to tread a fine line between a bit of talk to reveal things is helpful . . .page after page of talk can get the reader going ‘I get the point already!’ I suppose it’s important to make sure that the focus is on the developing relationship between the hero and heroine – and not making it a detailed description of how our heroine gets on with her mother/sister/best friend!

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 12:30 pm
  8. What a great post. When I read your article, it brought me back to how I see a book through my reader’s eyes–where I skimmed, what made me think, “hurry it up,” and where I fell deep into the story.

    I hope you don’t mind if I copy and past your post into word for future reference.

    Posted by Mercy | November 28, 2011, 8:39 am
    • Thank you Mercy! You’ve mentioned a really good test for where you need to cut for pace. If you as a reader would be thinking ‘hurry it up’ or skimming then those are the places where the writing has perhaps become self-indulgent. Writing popular fiction is not like writing literary stuff where the author can show how well they can descrive something or bring in an extra character for the heck of it. As popular authors we need to give the reader what they want – and those points where as you describe it so vividly you ‘fell deep into the story’ are the points where the author did just that.

      I have no problem if you c&p this into word for your own use but please remember that it is my copyright.

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 2:23 pm
  9. Morning Kate!

    I too am a big fan of your 12 point Guide. First romance writing book I ever bought! =)

    I’m apparently a big believer in repeating things over and over again. And over again. I never see it til one of my CP’s will say ok! we get it already! =) Something I definitely have to work on!

    Thanks for a great post, this one’s definitely getting printed off!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | November 28, 2011, 8:44 am
    • Morning – er – evening (those time zones again!) Carrie. And thank you too for the compliment on the 12 Point Guide. I’m pretty honoured that it was the first writing book you bought.

      Repeating things overf and over – that’s so easily done. Sometimes we think we haven’t emphasised it enough – but the shorter the book, the more impact a few words will have. Or sometimes we think ‘well this is what they ardfe feeling so I need to tell it’ – but there are ways of showing not telling that your characters are still angry/upset and just a hint will tell the reader why. Or – and I admit to being guilty of this – we just plain forget we’ve said it before. And we need an editor or a CP to point it out. Or the story just goes round and round and round. I hope I might have helped you a bit to become more, aware of this.

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 2:28 pm
  10. Kate -

    Thanks for being at RU today! Your post came at a perfect time for me, since I’m about to begin revising a story this morning :-). Believe me, I will refer back to your advice as I go through this process.

    What’s the hardest bit of words you ever had to cut?

    Thanks a ton!
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 28, 2011, 10:47 am
    • Hi Kelsey – welll the timing wasn’t mine – but RU’s invite! – but I’m glad that it worked out to be just right for you. Good luck with revising that story. That can be one of the hardest times for a writer – I think we get too close to our own work. So I hope the post helps you look at your book more objectively.

      The hardest words I’ve had to cut ?- oh that’s difficult. I think that inb all the books Ivew written (apart from a significant few that actually went through with no revisions!) there have always been some that I’ve shed blood mentally as I’ve cut them. The 15,000 in Game of Hazard were bad enough. And there was one book called Wife for a Day where – this was some years back – the editorial objections were not because of the story but becaused my hero was connected to the music industry and at that time musicians or anyone else were not popular. So I had to cut the music bits – and to me it diminished my hero! I hated it

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 2:39 pm
      • Wow, Kate – both of those had to be painful. As I’ve written more, I’ve begun to look at my words like roses. When I planted my first rose bushes, I had the hardest time deadheading them and cutting away any of the blooms. But then I realized if I pruned them, they would produce more flowers in the long run.

        I try to remind myself of that when I have to ax words or a scene. Believe me, I’m sure I’ll need that metaphor soon!

        Kelsey

        Posted by Kelsey Browning | November 28, 2011, 4:49 pm
  11. Hi Kate, I just cut some 3K words from my WIP. I’m going to go back and use your checklist to make sure they were the right ones.

    MY reason for cutting? Contest entries. I wanted the judges to see that lovely scene that came just after the page limit. And then it came, the aha moment– if I want the judges to see it, I want all readers to see it before they give up on the book! Du-uh!

    Thanks for the wonderful advice.

    Sonali

    Posted by Sonali | November 28, 2011, 11:00 am
    • Hi Sonali! I hope you fiond that you did cut the right words. Your contest entry reasons are a good test really. You wanted the judges/readers to see that lovely scene – it might have been in order to fit it into the word count – but perhaps it was really because that scene was important and you had spent too long getting to it – the realisation that you wanted the reader/judge to get to it quicker (and the suspicion that the reader might want to give up on the book) told you that you needed to cut for pace here to make this happen

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 3:09 pm
  12. Hello everyone! Sorry to be late coming to chat with you today – I’ve had a busy out and about day and I’ve only just settled at my desk – and you’ve alll been busy chatting – so I’m going to catch up ! (Oh – and of course the time zone situations adds to the problem. I’m in the UK)

    Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 11:25 am
  13. Thank you Kate, this is very insightful. It’s liken to the film editor who can’t afford to cry over the scenes that end up on the cutting room floor. My habit is to create separate “note” docs and more than once what was not nec in one story, can be used somewhere else. Do you save some of those “cut” scenes?

    Posted by florence fois | November 28, 2011, 12:31 pm
    • Hi Florence – that is so right – about the film editor. It doens;t matter how great a bit of camera work, or acting was in one of those scnes, if they didn;t make the film a better film, telling the story in the best way possible, then they ended up on the cutting room floot. I do something like you do – I put the cut scene in a separate ‘Notes’ file and then it’s there if I should decide I needed it after all (I rarely do.) And as for using those scenes again – that’s rare too – because this book is this particular H&h’s story and really in my mind only they wold get to this particular point(even if I don’t use it!) But sometimes we need to write these ‘wasted’ scenes as a way of getting to know ourcharactres so much better – so we can write them really well in the scenes we don’t cut!

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 3:17 pm
  14. Hi Kate!

    I write long so I had to cut eighty pages from my ms. Some of my favorite scenes ended up in the junkyard, but I can use those scens for another story.

    I think my problem started when I was young. I read all the Beverly Cleary books and wondered why Beezus and Ramona never brushed their teeth or used the loo. I thought it was pertinent to the story.

    Thanks for being with us today!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | November 28, 2011, 1:38 pm
  15. Hi Jennifer! I always used to write long too so in the beginning I was always cutting lots (Those 15,000 words from Game Of Hazard for example.) But you’ve made an interesting point – fictional people rarely brush their teeth or go to the loo – or clean the car or even feed the cat! It’s as someone once said that drama(and fiction) is life with all the boring bits taken out. And the question we nned to as ourselves i s – Is this pertinent to the story? The thing about those 15,000 words I had to cut was that I had put in what my characters ate, when they washed-up, what they read over 3 days they were traped together. . . as my editor said ‘It made a long 3 days’!

    Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 3:23 pm
    • Kate…I had a post-dinner scene where my H/H had dined on garlicky escargot. I had a couple lines about oral hygiene in scene that my CPs nailed me on and said weren’t necessary. I guess they weren’t half asleep when they read that chapter. :)

      Posted by Jennifer Tanner | November 28, 2011, 3:30 pm
  16. Oh – and talking of cats – my Maine Coon Chalrie wouldn’t be pleased with me if I didn’t say that I’m offering a giveaway of ne of my backlist books to one lucky person who leaves a comment here. Why does Charlie want me to tell you this? He is the one who picks the winners – I put cat treats out on every one’s name and the one he eats first is the winner. More comments, more cat treats – and Charlie LOVES cat treats!

    Posted by Kate Walker | November 28, 2011, 3:32 pm
  17. Hi Kate! Great tips, all of which will come in very handy as I try to revise/edit my NaNo project. I’m at 60k words now and only 2/3 of the way through the story. But it occurred to me about 30k words ago that although I was writing more dialogue than narrative, my conversations were take too long to get to the point and probably last longer than necessary. Gotta work on that.

    Posted by PatriciaW | November 28, 2011, 3:57 pm
    • Good morning (well, it is here!) Patricia. Writing dialohue is usually a way to make a book much more immediate and to show not tell – but the dialogue does have to say something and move the story along. In real life we spend so much time talking about the weather, not saying what we mean, avoiding saying things that we need to say – in fiction we need to prune away all those bits and pieces and get to the heart of things as quickly as possible. Dialogue can get to be every bit as hard to plough through as heavy narrative if it’s not dong that. Or if it’s repeating the same arguments over and over. Good luck with that project – maybe you’ll find that you can be 2/3 of the way through at a few K less words.

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 29, 2011, 2:28 am
  18. Hi Kate,

    Thanks so much for joining us today. Loved this post. I had never heard of the 60/40 split before. There’s always so much to think about! LOL

    Will have to check out your 12-pt book. :)

    Tracey

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | November 28, 2011, 6:40 pm
    • Hello Tracey I’m glad you found the post helpful. The 60/40 split was advice that was given to me by an editor years ago when I wsa just starting out and it’s something I always try to keep in mind when I’m writing. If you do try out the 12 Point Guide I hope you find it helpful

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 29, 2011, 2:30 am
  19. Great blog!

    Posted by chey | November 28, 2011, 6:42 pm
  20. Great post. I think cutting can go a long way in improving a story. I am all for less said but more seen when it comes to descriptions.

    Posted by Na | November 28, 2011, 8:20 pm
    • Hi NA I always think that cutting for pace is like pruning a rose bush – it might look as if it’s flourishing with greenery and branches going everywhere – but when you take away some of all those leaves, then you see the beauty of the flowers more clearly.

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 29, 2011, 2:37 am
  21. Thank you so much for your timely advice. I ran into an interesting dilemma when I completed my first draft of my novel. It was too long to be a category but too short to be a single title. So I added quite a bit to bring up the word count. But as I’m dig back into revising once again, I’ve discovered that my pacing is off so now I need to be more brutal with my pruning. It’s beginning to feel like I may never get this story quite right! Anyway, thank you again. I’ll bookmark this article and share it with my friends.

    Posted by E. Newmeyer | November 28, 2011, 10:56 pm
    • Hello E _ the problem sometimes with word counts for a single title is that it can seem as if more words will add what is needed – but that’s only true if those more words add more depth. It would be interesting to see if you had looked at the original too long bok and cut for pace that you might have had s category length book – and possibly a stronger one after all. When I started I regularly wrote 5 – 10,000 words too long for category but cutting made the book sharper and tighter – and the right length!

      Posted by Kate Walker | November 29, 2011, 2:41 am
  22. Hi Kate ~ As a reader I found this a very interesting post. I have read Game of Hazard in the past few years. I enjoyed it very much so you must have left all the right words and cut for pace.

    Posted by Kaelee | November 29, 2011, 1:08 am
  23. Hello Kaelee – and thank you. It’s great to know that I found the right words to cut for pace – and Game of Hazard still holds up after all these years. It’s scary to think that it came out in 1986 – so that makes it 25 years old! eeek!

    Posted by Kate Walker | November 29, 2011, 2:42 am
  24. Hi Kate, thanks for another great post. I must admit I need to do a lot of pruning – but I tend to paste all the bits that I’m cutting into a ‘deleted bits’ document – it softens the blow! (Though I doubt they will ever be used again.) I have just finished my first read through The 12 Point Guide (which is brilliant) – so now it’s back to the beginning to re-read and do all the exercises.

    Posted by Susie Medwell | November 29, 2011, 10:20 am
    • Hi Susie – sorry to be late replying . A couple of crises blew up and I had to be away from my desk. I think it’s a very good policy when pruning to put the ‘cuttings’ into a separate file – you never know when you might find that you really need them – for this book or any other! I’m so pleased to know that you’re finding the 12 Point Guide helpful – good luck with those exercises!

      Posted by Kate Walker | December 1, 2011, 1:17 am
  25. Now I need to find Charlie and get him to pick a winner of the book giveaway – watch this space . . .

    Posted by Kate Walker | December 1, 2011, 1:17 am
  26. And the winner is ROBIN COVINGTON!

    Robin please email me Kate AT kate-walker. com with your postal address and your choice of these backlist books -

    The Greek Tycoon’s Unwilling Wife

    Bedded By The Greek Billionaire

    Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride

    The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge

    The Good Greek Wife?

    Kept for Her Baby

    The Konstantos Marriage Demand

    Cordero’s Forced Bride

    Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife

    The Proud Wife

    Thank you to RU for inviting me – and thank you to everyone for coming to chat

    Posted by Kate Walker | December 1, 2011, 2:53 am

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