I've been waiting to hear from my agent about when she would begin the review and pitching process for my book. I got an email from her yesterday, saying she would do a final re-read on the manuscript in mid-April. She also said that the book was a bit long -- apparently there's an optimum size for a first novel (at least if it's to get the attention of a publisher), and it's not the epic tome I've got on my hands right now.
Could I whittle it down a bit before then?
Since she's an editorial agent, she could make suggestions herself when she does the final re-read, but since they're my words, I'd rather be the one to decide which ones are to go.
I've got to lose around 20,000 words in the next week. 20,000 words. I didn't realize just how much easier it is to write them than it is to decide which ones don't need to stay.
I went through the first 4 chapters last night and actually got rid of over 2,000 -- without changing any of the actual story, just tightening sentences and looking for places where, if I'd said something strongly enough the first time, it didn't bear repeating.
Basically it's very similar to my theory of weight loss: yes, I'd love to be 20 pounds lighter, but in reality, I'd settle for everything just being a bit tighter.
That's what I'll call it. I'm not whittling my manuscript. I'm not pruning it.