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We Make the Cuts

We Make the Cuts

I have always enjoyed what I would call rich books. I didn’t enjoy novels that glossed over details; that had shallow characters or characters with so little depth that they shouldn’t even be written about. To me, a 350-page book was the minimum. I preferred books like Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising and Stephen King’s The Stand. In each of those, and others like them, you could visualize the settings, the places and things and most importantly, grow to love or hate the characters. Even the minor characters had to be real for me.

When you got to The End, you felt a like a little of you stopped. If a character you liked died, then you felt an emotional loss too. So that’s how I wanted to write. And after a year of writing, I had a book with 300,000+ words. I wouldn’t call it a page turner. I would describe it as a real world, where you dove into each person in the book.

Sadly, what I learned was that agents and publishers are not interested in that. They have limits that were difficult to meet. The number of words a publisher wants to see is not relevant except to say that entire sections and character backgrounds had to be expunged.

It took me months of reviewing the story to find those pieces I felt could be erased from the memories of the internal characters. I had to determine what added to the story and what was essential to the story. They are not the same. Do I think the story is better for it? Not necessarily. But is it an easier read? Yes. Maybe that’s why the publishers demand those limits. They realize that I’m not the norm in thinking bigger is better in novels. And it is a business that needs to reach more people. So, we make the cuts.

Our beta reader started reading the final product as we finish editing sections.