Stars Uncharted was due at the editor’s on 1 June. We sent it in, early actually, and settled back to concentrate on the next story.
Anne, our editor, got the book back to us on the 10th. She said some nice things, and then talked about the changes she wanted. The biggest one, the book is too long. At least 20,000 words too long.
We have to say, it wasn’t unexpected. After all, the contract calls for a novel of around 100,000 words. We delivered a little more than that. Like, closer to 130,000. Sometimes, when you’ve worked on a book for a long time, you think there is nothing you can possibly cut. A few months away from the book—or another eye, like the editor’s—will show that you can, but at the time, we couldn’t see it.
Anne suggested some areas we might cut.
“Let me at it,” Sherylyn said. “Don’t look. For a week.”
So I’m sitting at the computer, trying to continue with the next book, while she gives me a running countdown of how many words she’s cut each day.
“I’m down to 117,916 today.”
Sherylyn is the editor in our writing team of two. She does most of the cuts. I do many of the adds. She can be ruthless. And sadly, she and Anne often agree on things. Sherylyn will argue for something to be cut, I’ll make a stand and we leave it in, then Anne comes back and says, “Perhaps this isn’t necessary.”
I’m coming round, gradually, but … in the meantime. Sherylyn’s cutting words, and I can’t argue about what’s she cut until tomorrow. I’m chewing my nails, literally.
Tomorrow, I finally get to see what she’s done.
You know what, I probably won’t even notice what’s gone.