It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
I have decided to participate in one of the current Wattpad competitions. This one is for a fan-fiction story, which I already posted there, and the only requirement that didn’t quite fit was the word count. They set the ceiling at 10,000 words, and my story was almost 12,000 words. To enter the competition, I needed a serious revision to cut out 2,000 words.
Cutting is painful. You want to express this idea and that, to let your readers know all the important details, to explain the history and contemplate the possibilities, but if you wish to eliminate 20% of your story, every inessential word must go. The beautiful adjectives. The complex clauses. The entire paragraphs dedicated to a charming but irrelevant side plot.
It took me several passes to cut out that much. At one point, I didn’t think I could do it at all without mutilating my story beyond salvation. But in the end, the story emerged better, tighter, more focused than before. I entered it into the competition.
Now, it is up to the judges and the readers. To tell you the truth, I don’t know how they decide on the winners. Probably, as everything on Wattpad, the stories with the highest number of reads/likes win.
Here is the summary of my story:
Five Days of Elf, is an urban fantasy inspired by Wen Spencer’s Elfhome universe. Lisa, a film school student from Vancouver, Canada, attends a local Shakespearean festival, when a gun-toting terrorist embarks on a shooting spree. She could’ve been killed, if not for a young man in a gray turban who risked his life stopping the shooter. After this traumatic event, the story plunges into the next five days of Lisa’s life, the most turbulent five days… with an elf.
You don’t need prior knowledge of Wen Spencer’s Elfhome books before reading this story. Everything relevant is right there, in the text, despite my ruthless cutting.
Come read the story, folks. Help me be among the winners.
The image for the cover: courtesy of my favorite free image site, Pixabay.
Have you ever needed to cut your story to such a degree? What was the reason? What was your approach to cutting? Tell me in the comments.