All My Little Darlings Must Die: On Editing and Passion

Today I am editing my novel.  I have a novel. Did I tell you that? It’s my first masterpiece and my proudest accomplishment.

But, at 120,000 words it is far too long for any publisher’s taste. My task this month is to cut out 40,000 words to make it more reasonable, or publishable (read: bankable). My rational mind says this will make it tighter, better,  and more engaging.

I know this because it always works this way. I write waayy too  much, and I think it’s wonderful and I curse requirements/conventions like word count. But in the interest of pleasing editor/client/reasonable space on a computer screen, I cynically delete about half of it. I reread it, and admit it is waay better. I even blush with shame that I ever wanted to publish the longer version. In my head,  I know all of this.

But, I spent eight months straight writing and editing this manuscript. I know there are flaws, and I have a good idea what they are.  How to fix them, will require some thinking, but it’s nothing that couldn’t be done.  But,  I  just can’t seem to bring myself to cut it apart again. I open the manuscript resolved to cut like a madman…and I just…can’t.

I have told myself that I  am essentially doing a rewrite. But, I read the words I have painstakingly written, and they are somehow devoid of meaning, Maybe the book is no longer in my heart. For the past two months, I let it sit while I worked on  other projects. They say this is good for the editing process. But, what I have found is that the passion I once had for this project is gone. This is scary, because I have only just begun to market it. What do you do when you have lost the vision?


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