Editing Sweet Revenge Update

Comments: 6

A few weeks ago, I mentioned to all my faithful readers (all 1 or 2 of you) that I have decided to revise Sweet Revenge again (for the last time - I hope). I had decided to add back in some of the story elements that I'd deleted some time ago in order to get the word count down something agents and editors would consider reasonable (around 70,000 words) - not an easy task.

I originally had a lot more of a secondary characters' (Gary's and Kathy's) story, and had a word count of somewhere around 130,000 words. I toyed with the idea of putting some of that back in but now have decided against that idea as it really takes away from the main story. I did put back in a lot of what I'd cut of my main characters' (Mark's and Genie's) story and after doing that, the total word count is now hovering around 81,100 words. I hope that's not too far out of line.

The upshot of this is that I thought this would take me months to do, but thanks to WordPerfect's side-by-side window comparison feature, I was able to simply compare the old with the new and add what I felt was needed to make the story richer. Now, I just need to read through the story, using a hard copy and a red pen, to make sure the story flows and tracks, then I'll be ready to market it again.

Wish me luck with that one.

Another idea came to me, and I've been playing with it for some time now. As I've been going through this story and editing it, I've come to realize it's not only a coming of age story, but it may also be literary since it's totally character driven. I don't mean to say there is no plot, there's a strong plot, but the plot is driven by the characters, not the other way around. I'm not sure where mainstream, young adult, coming of age ends and literary begins, but it's something to consider.
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About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Wednesday, December 03, 2008

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  1. Hey Paul,

    81,000 words shouldn't be a problem. It's when you get up into the 100,000's that you might be a little concerned, but it sounds to me like you've got it well under control.

    Character driven doesn't necessarily mean literary. Does your plot have a solid conclusion at the end, or do you leave some things up to the reader to decide for themselves? That's one of the hallmarks of literary. Also, does your narrative basically focus on moving characters from place to place and telling about them, or does it take on a dreamlike, meandering quality? That's another hallmark right there.

    Sounds like the edit went well. Congratulations!

  2. Hi Tristi. Thanks for responding. I don't get a lot of comments - probably because I'm too busy working to comment on other writer's boards. Sorry.

    Thanks for your clarification. Yes, I've written a solid conclusion and the characters do run the story to a logical and satisfying conclusion.

    I'm still working on the edit, but it is going well. I hope to be ready to begin marketing it again in January.

  3. I hope you are doing well, Paul. Good luck with your WIP and the new one too!

  4. Thank you Bhaswati. I wish you success in the coming new year too.

  5. All sounds like good stuff, Paul. Writing is such a long-winded business, isn't it? Satisfying, though.