The Fine Art of Killing Words: Editing for a Lean, Mean Manuscript with Beth Daniels

Editing The Fine Art of Killing Words: Editing for a Lean, Mean Manuscript with Beth Daniels

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  1. Characters
  2. Description/Setting
  3. Editing
  4. GMC
$5 off Early Registration Coupon-expires 1 week before class starts
Class Length
4 Weeks
Not long ago my agent gave me what sounded like an impossible mission. Trim a 100,000+ word manuscript to under 90,000 words. That’s approximately 35 pages worth of words. Words I sweated to string together. Words I loved.

“I think it will interest more editors at the shorter length,” my agent said. Considering I’d done estimated word counts on similar books and thought that 100,000 was on the slim side, I was dumbfounded. I’d already edited it to death, I thought.

I thought wrong.

The thing to remember is that the marketplace changes, but those changes frequently don’t show up at the bookstore until the manuscripts currently bought by editors make it to the bookshelves. This could be anywhere from months to a couple years away.

If editors were now looking for shorter stories, so be it, I thought and settled in for yet another set of editing sessions.

And cut 11,353 words – in five days’ time.

Oddly enough, the manuscript I’d thought was perfect, sang much more sweetly when I finished.

In four weeks, we’ll walk this walk together, evaluating what can go and what needs to stay, changing verbs, revising sentences, giving up adverbs (hardest thing for me!), trimming descriptions, catching when characters babble, and limiting dialogue tags. And, as show and tell examples, I’ll give bits of what was cut or modified in some way in that manuscript that got the major trim job.

The Fine Art of Killing Words isn’t entirely about using the delete key, it’s about turning out a manuscript that hits all the right notes.
Class Format
Savvy Authors' workshops are held on a forum: a bulletin board based system. You will receive a reminder notice one day prior to the start of the workshop that includes instructions on how to access the workshop forum. If you have not received instructions by the day the workshop begins, please check your spam filter.

The forum will be available the morning (EST) of the day the workshop starts and will remain accessible to all participants thereafter. You will also be given simple instructions on how to create a PDF of all your discussions along with our privacy and data retention policy.
Beth Daniels
Start date
Mar 21, 2022 at 9:00 AM
End date
Apr 18, 2022 at 12:50 AM
Registration end date
Mar 24, 2022 at 12:50 AM
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