Monday, September 14, 2009
Not Enough Room!
When I stepped into my closet yesterday morning, this is what I saw. I have a perfectly good shelving unit to hold my shoes, but apparently there isn't enough room. (Well, maybe, I have too many shoes.) I decided it was time to get organized and make my shoes fit on the shelves. The first step was to get rid of the shoes that served no purpose. These are the ones that either didn't fit, didn't match anything I own, or were so worn out, I'd never wear them in public anyway. I threw out three pairs. Yay! I've made more room already. Like my shoe shelf, my manuscript is also overcrowded. The standard word count for YA is much lower than for other genres. SCBWI guidelines say that YA should be no more than 65,000 words. I've heard from other sources that 80,000 is acceptable. In either case, mine is too long. To make matters worse, I've realized, thanks to my most awesome beta readers, that I need to beef up some aspects of my story, which means more words, not less. So, what do I do? Well, just like my shoes have to fit on my shelves, my story is going to have to fit within the guidelines. Cutting unnecessary words isn't going to do the trick. I now have to cut entire scenes. You know, the ones that serve no purpose. These are the ones that don't develop the characters, move the plot along, establish setting, or build internal or external conflict. These scenes have to go. Yikes! I'm a little nervous, but here I go! What about you? Have you had to cut scenes? If so, how do you decide which ones to cut?