Writers are often the worst kind of people to edit written work because they are frequently a stakeholder in or are connected in some way to the work. Writers know that they should get someone else, a beta reader, to review their work.
This post follows on from one I posted yesterday on one of my other blogs www.thrillingwriting.wordpress.com.
In my 140,000 word fantasy faery tale, I knew when I was writing it one particular chapter was very long and worse still, long winded. But, up until know despite knowing that it is too long, I haven’t been able to cut it down. Somehow, it has always survived editing. The book is currently on its ninth draft. Yes, I know, I am the procrastination king when it comes to this chapter.
Now am ready and I am going to use an NLP technique called “chunking.”
Chunking works both ways, chunking up and chunking down.
Chunking up is a process where you look at something at a much higher level than you are currently viewing it. You are focussing on the minute and the detail when a much bigger broader overview is required. So you “chunk up” until you are sufficiently “high” and can see the bigger picture.
Conversely “chunking down” is where you are looking at things way to broadly and can’t see the detail. Like the weatherman you sweep your hand across the board and miss out on all of the small parts. So you chunk down to see all of the small things.
I am gong to “chunk up” the chapter in question until I can see the high level things and find a way to summarise all of these little bits into a much broader picture. Rather like saying there are three hundred people in a street (chunk up) you go into the minute detail of how many people live in each house, how many bedrooms there are, whether they have gardens, TV’s, satellite systems and so on (chunk down).
I am going to look at each page, list what is on it and see if I can make a sweeping statement or summary that can take out whole passages. It may well be that this 9500 word chapter can be cut down in this chunking up manner to just a few thousand. The book could do with a trim, 140,000 words is quite long, so to make it more appealing to a publisher and/or agent if I can get the book below 130,000 it will “feel” a lot shorter. I know there is more to do than just cut one chapter, but it is a big start and once I have completed my current task on the book, I shall read through again and see if chunking up can cut even more from it.
I shall let you know. I will be really really pleased if I can get it below 125,000 words. Below 120,000 would be incredible, but I am going to take this one page at a time, or rather, by chunking up, one chapter at a time.