Deleting words is just as important as writing them. When you’re trying to hit that desired 50,000, 75,000, 100,000 or whatever word count, you’re not focused on things to keep and get rid of. I have two tips on how to get rid of excess words. One takes work, the other is self-explanatory.
I cannot endorse this book or method enough. Before even attempting to rework excess scenes, you have delete excess words. I’ve gotten rid of “that” from my everyday vocabulary as a result of doing this exercise. It helped me shave off tens of thousands of words (reverse NaNoWriMo).
They say you can’t be your own editor, so this book serves as a great framework for that. It’s like a little pocket editor and the instructions are so user-friendly.
Trimming your book also ultimately comes down to one thing: Pulling the trigger on the backspace bar. And to think about it, but don’t overthink it. I’ve erased entire chapters. After a few workshop sessions with the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers, I’ve decided to delete an entire POV and the prologue. And it doesn’t hurt. Editing should hurt in the moment, but it should be more akin to ripping off a band-aid.
Another tip to make this process more painless? Just step away for a bit. A day, a week…however much time you need. But make sure that, when you’re ready to read, you’ve got your reader hat and your editor slippers. Getting into that mindset helped me understand my changes and hopefully it helps you too.