Add or Chop?

What to do if your manuscript word count is too low:

  1. Consider making it book one in a series.
  2. Publish it as a novella.
  3. Reread your manuscript. Are there places you can add a scene? A chapter? 
  4. Could you write a prologue? An Epilogue?

What to do if your manuscript word count is too high:

  1. Reread your manuscript. Look for ways to use more concise vocabulary in order to say what you intend, but with less words.
  2. Eliminate repetition. Especially in cases where you are revealing your character’s inner thoughts.
  3. Split your book in two, making the second half another book in your “new” series.
  4. Remove some of your content (especially in non-fiction or self-help books) and use the “extra” content in a blog, short story, etc.

The Problem With Repetition

Continuing on from my last post…

Another thing I realized as I scanned my manuscript was that I had used a lot of exclamation points in my writing. (I must really think my writing is exciting!!!!!!!!!)

With most things, the more you do them, say them, express them, the less effective they become.

Or, to say it another way:

A SMALL DOSE GOES A LONG WAY.

Exclamation points should be used sparingly and, by and large, in dialogue. After all, their purpose is to denote excitement. But, remember, not all things are equally exciting, so be careful not to use them too often. Then, when you do use them, the reader will pay attention.

Another thing that I remarked on before (when talking about pet peeves, I believe) is words that are repeated over and over. Take the word “walked”. There are so many more words—exciting ones— that can be used in its place: sauntered, ambled, jaunted…

This problem is easily fixed by going under the EDIT tab and clicking on FIND. You can type in a word you think you may have used too often, and your computer will search your manuscript for it, page by page. It is up to you whether you want to keep a given sentence as you originally wrote it, or whether you want to replace it. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t forget, your Thesaurus gives you plenty of alternative words to use. When you run out of replacement words, you can always cycle through your list, again. Or, you can try rewriting your sentences so they read altogether differently.

More observations next time. I’m always open to questions, also. If I don’t know the answer (which I very likely may not) I will find out…

Brenda