image via pubmart.com
This week I've been reviewing the bluelines of a novel of mine – -my first one – first published in '97, and now in reprint mode. It's titled A REASON TO TREMBLE, and you'll see more about it here soon. (I'm choosing to publish it myself, but that's another story.) Out of 90,000+ words, I've so far found some 25 typos to correct – not bad, by my clumsy standards. But what I'm noticing otherwise is a spot here and there of superfluous wording. Oh, not enough to make me wince, but some.
I'd edited the manuscript down by about 10% prior to going into "publish" phase this time, and was satisfied with it. But you never catch everything – same with editors you might hire – if you choose an editor for your work, and he/she makes drastic changes, you can bet there'd be a lot more to tweak on a second pass.
With an agent's and editor's help with it back then, it was good enough to be published and sold, but, well, no Pulitzer was in the offing. I've since learned a lot about where the fat is in a manuscript, part of which I posted here. If I were to reduce editing advice (where verboseness is concerned), it would be to cut until your story begins to suffer, and then add back a few bits of flesh.