You’re never quite finished. Not really. But in fact I have now finished writing my new novel and have edited and re-edited and cut it several times. Since I have a tendency to write very long books, but have been told that only a shorter book has any chance of being published by a publisher (Tolkien – despair!), I have put the sword to the manuscript.
I did three levels of shortened manuscript. Some of it really hurt. A reader would probably not miss what is now not mentioned, because they don’t know that it used to be there. Nevertheless, as the author I do miss some nice sentences or even chapters.
The first beta reader criticized that there was too little background ambience. Of course, that’s always the first thing that gets cut, because cutting bits of the plot might make the story illogical.
Now I have four different versions of the manuscript:
2. shortened once
3. shortened twice
4. very, very, very short – by my standards.
Only the 4th version meets the requirements completely. So if the publisher wants it that way, it will be this nibbled version that the readership will see. If I have to publish it myself, it will be the once shortened version.
We shall see. I’m hoping for a publisher.
So keep your fingers crossed!