Seeing the Story in Acts, not Chapters
Good morrow! (I know, I know, the time stamp says like 6pm. Cut me some slack.)
As I've mentioned, the current manuscript for TESS AND THE TRINKET needs some slimming.
Some weeks ago, I found a fantastic little article by Fiction University that really helped focus the process of cutting the word count down.
The key is to remember the story takes place in three acts: Act One (set up); Act Two (rising and falling action); and Act Three (resolution). In order for the story to flow well in a classic sense (I'm not doing anything experimental), each of these acts should take up roughly equal parts of the story. The exception to this would be Act Two, which is really two acts in one. You follow?
Act One: 25% of the story
Act Two: 50% of the story
Act Three: 25% of the story
Rather than chopping paragraphs out randomly, I now have a system to gauge which areas of the manuscript need the most weight loss. Using the Word Count tool in Microsoft Word, I wrote down how many words were in each chapter of the first draft. Then, I determined where Acts 1, 2, and 3 began in the story. I set an overall word count goal, and divided it by four. Voila! I had a general idea of what each chapter in a given act should be averaging.
I am happy to say that I am currently finishing off Part 1 of Act 2, which means I'm about to start revising the second half of the book! I think it's the most exciting part of the manuscript, because questions are starting to get answered, and characters are starting to transform.
SO happy the editing process is not as time-consuming as writing the first draft. Wait, did I jinx it?!?