I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


No, not my family and not Mazie, although sometimes...

No, I'm pondering whether or not to cut my manuscript from 85,000 words to 60,000. That means I must as Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, then William Faulkner and lately Stephen King advised, murder my little darlings. All 25,000 words. Twenty.Five.Thousand.

These aren't just any old words. These are words I have cut my wrists and bled onto the page (or computer screen). Emotionally charged words that touch emotions. Really good scenes. Witty dialogue, even.

So, why would I?

Mainly because several people I respect in the writing world have suggested my book has a certain feel to it, as in a Love Inspired Suspense rather than the larger book I've written. I value their input, but had resisted for several months acting on it. I didn't want to do the work it would take to make it conform to the LIS guidelines of 55,000 - 60,000 words.

If I go this route I'm pondering, I'll also have to completely rewrite the opening chapter because in an LIS (or any Love Inspired book), the hero and heroine must meet in the first chapter, and in my book, they don't meet until Chapter Three. I've actually gone so far as to start writing that first chapter.

Guess what? I'm liking this opening...maybe even better than the one I had.

So, what am I learning as I ponder? That every word I write makes me a better writer, even those words I have to cut. That God puts people in my life who aren't afraid to tell me what I don't want to hear. That cutting those 25,000 words might actually make my book the best it's ever been.

I'm giving away a $10 ITunes gift card to someone who leaves a comment...or notes how many times I used the word ponder or pondering in my post.

Pat Trainum

I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write


  1. Pat, I feel your pain. I have to cut words too. I hate to say murder my little darlings because I call my daycare charges little darlings and don't want to give anyone the wrong impression. :)

    Cutting 20,000 words may be as easy as cutting those pet words and repeated sentences. Also, math plays into it--go figure. Take the number of pages and divide that into 60,000. That gives you an idea of how many words per page you may need to cut. Then I divide that number by 25--usually 25 lines per page. That helps me to know how many words per line I may need to cut. Not an exact science, but it helps the huge task seem less overwhelming. :-)

  2. Pat, love this post. Love how you referred to your words as "Little Darlings." When I read the title, I feared Lisa might be pondering murder. :) He-he.

    One thing you said that I've been pondering is that every word I write improves my writing. Isn't it nice to know, that even if you do "murder your little darlings" it only improves your writing? :)

    If I count the title, I count six "ponder" or "pondering."

    Thanks for the thought provoking post, Pat!

  3. I'm thinking...or should I say pondering...there are seven uses of the word "ponder" in your post...now that counts the title. Cutting, pruning...all painful but necessary "acts" of getting the best out of the good.

  4. Yup, 7 times--Love this Pat, and your grabbing title. You sound dangerous. To think I slept in the same room with you at ACFW . . . Am sure we'll soon ponder and celebrate seeing your first book published . . . and then more.

  5. Lisa, I will definitely use your formula when I start actually cutting. That's after I get the first chapter written. Again.


  6. Jeanne, thanks for stopping by and I actually thought you had the right number...that's how many I counted. lol I am so not a numbers person.
    So you'll be entered in the drawing.

  7. Cheryl and Dee: Are there really 7? lol

    Rooming with you both at ACFW was such a treat.

  8. It can be done! Although to do that for one book, I did a total rewrite. lol. Lisa's method is probably better. :-)

  9. Wowzers! Cut 25K?! Though targeting LIS could well be worth it, it's enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and cry ;).

    If you haven't cut all those pet words already, then that probably is a good place to start... but still /shudder on your behalf/ ;)

    I counted 4 in the post itself.


  10. Chris Potash10/5/11, 2:06 PM

    I counted six times - but I was an english major so....

    Hope you find lots of things to cut that don't hurt so much!

  11. Thank you for shuddering, Carol. Have decided to be like the little engine that thought he could.

    I think I can...I think I can...

    And I'm glad to see so many word persons!

  12. Thanks for the thought, Chris, but I'm afraid they will ALL hurt. lol Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Whewww... glad I read to the end or I would have been worried about all the children in Mississippi! Great post Pat.

  14. You are a brave, brave writer. A most excellent, gonna-be-published writer, Pat. You.Can.Do. It.
    Murder away!

  15. You can do it, Pat, you can do it! Can you hear my cheers from Iowa?!

  16. I'm pondering on murder myself and not words...

  17. Thanks, Melissa! And after today I will tackle this project...no more school for a week. Yay!

  18. Ooooh! Patricia...just think...all those emotions you feel right now...you can put in your writing... hehehe!

  19. I feel your pain, Pat. Cutting words can be tough. The upside is watching our writing get tighter and our stories improve before our eyes. I wish you well as you make judicious use of your delete key.

  20. Thank you Keli...I need all the encouragement I can get. Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Praying for you, Pat. And eager to read your new first chapter!


  22. Been there. Cut scenes I love for the sake of the story. Great post, Pat!