No, its not a post about heroic fantasy. I'm in the middle of doing a yet another edit on my Science Fantasy manuscript, Warriors of the Blessed Realms. As is typical for me, the thing had bloated up 10,000 words from the earlier edits -- up to a shocking 160,000 words. That word total is like some sort of a magnet for me unfortunately.
So, my challenge has been to get this down to 120,000 words or less. Can I jump now?
I've managed to get the total down to 131,00o words so far, which seems to me something of a miracle. I have not been able to do this without removing a few incidental characters and some other scenes which I guess weren't that important to the story. It still hurt losing them!
Having said that, it is surprising how much I managed to remove by just trimming and condensing the text - at least a good 10,000 words - which is sort of embarrassing. Do I really write that sloppily? I guess its part of the process. Maybe the writing gods have seen fit to increase my skills since I did the last draft.
The thing that concerns me now is how I have started to really get into this. Chop. Chop. Slash. Slash. Everything must go. In my mania (and I do tend to extremes) a little voice in the back of my head is asking 'am I losing some essential essence from the story?'
What do people think? Can you chop too far? Make the story too spare? Too mechanical? Or is all-out war on the adjective and metaphor a Holy Cause? Clarity is King?