The Incredible Shrinking Manuscript

I’m up to revising chapters 3 and 4, and by that I mostly mean cutting, although I did add a new scene to chapter 3 (after removing one). A friend called it The Incredible Shrinking Manuscript. While I’m not sure that it’s incredible, it’s definitely shrinking. I’m trying hard not to worry about that, since the shrinking does mean that the prose is probably getting tighter.

Part of the revision has involved writing some scene types I haven’t tackled before. My test audience for those scenes seems to like them, though.

2 thoughts on “The Incredible Shrinking Manuscript

  1. How many words is the total? I’m actually having the opposite problem – I was aiming to finish my current novel first draft at about 95,000 words, and I think it’s going to come in closer to 120,000 or even 130,000 when finished. Then I’ll have to cut it back to about 95,000.

    According to what I’ve read, the desired length for a novel among agents and publishers is 60,000 – 80,000 words. There seems to be a consensus that speculative fiction (sci-fi and fantasy) books are expected to be a bit longer, but a first novel should still be under 100,000 words to maximize its chance of selling. How long is your shrinking manuscript now?


    1. At the moment, it’s 70,000 words. I’ve edited about 11 chapters and still have about 25 chapters left to go through (i.e. shrink) and a few scenes to add. It’s an urban fantasy, which means it can be shorter than “regular” fantasy, but I’m not sure how much shorter.

      I kind of wish I had your problem right now.


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