When my dad writes his stories, he always makes sure to write 10% more in word count than what he wants it to be in the end, because he says there some equation out there that says when you edit, you're supposed to lose 10% of your word count. For reasons of having wordy sentences, chunks that don't belong, extra words, etc.
I've never subscribed to that. How does taking stuff out make something better? Also, with the way I write, I don't put in things that don't help the story in some way.
Back when I first did NaNo, I went into the plot help section and found the dares. For those of you who don't know what the dare are, it's like a real dare, but you have to put something into your story. Like one of the dares I took was to have a reference to Romeo and Juliet and how the two lovers would meet up a few times then kill themselves (I don't have the exact dare, for some reason). Hell, I had a whole damn list of these, but I wouldn't use them unless I could work it into the story.
Here's my excerpt for the Romeo and Juliet line. Keep in mind, this is four years old and never been edited. There's also a warning for language. (A little info: Carrighan is an Angel of Hell, well known Angel killer, and Lucifer's former best friend. Demetrios is an Angel who was sent to Earth to kill Carrighan, even though Deme has been in love with Carrighan since before Lucifer and his followers were banished from Heaven. They struck up a deal that Carrighan would give Deme insider information from Hell and Deme would let Carrighan live in peace).
Guh, I love these guys! But that's beside the point. I made the whole Romeo and Juliet thing mesh in with the scene. There was also a dare about going to an amusement park, that I made a HUGE part of the plot.“Kill me, Carrighan,” he said with sorrow in his voice. “If it’s what you want then kill me! If this is all you want from me then take it and let me be! But don’t tell me you can’t because I know you can!”His voice was beginning to crack as he spoke and tears ran his face, mixing with the continuing rain.Carrighan shook his head, backing away until he hit the house, pressing against it. “I can’t Demetrios!”Thunder broke the sky as the Angel yelled “Do it!” The resolution of his decision was on his face along with the sorrow.Carrighan couldn’t take looking at him any longer and another wave of anger poured through him, this time at himself for not doing something about this. He grabbed Deme by the shirt and pulled him close bringing the knife to his neck and pushing his head back. He stared at the one in front of him, his heart racing his anger melting away and turning to self-hatred and guilt as he did this.“I can’t do it because… I love you…” he let the Angel go as his hands fell to his sides, the knife hitting the ground.Deme stared at him with a mirrored confused expression.“I… love you” he whispered, the confession lifting his heart but sent a whole new wave of terror through him. He couldn’t love an Angel, that’s impossible, it couldn’t happen! And he wouldn’t allow it. His wings spread and he took to the air flying over Deme’s head and taking off into the trees.Deme turned on his heel after a moment and took off after him.“Carrighan!” he called after the dark winged one ahead of him.The other man didn’t slow at all. The winds changed and pushed Carrighan back from where he was trying to go, though he had no destination in mind.He just wanted to get away from Deme.“No! No! No! No! No!!” he whined but the winds were too strong. He fell to the ground, landing on his knees. His wings fell around him and he looked down, hair hanging in his face.“Carrighan…” Deme approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Why are you running from me? If what you say if true then…”“Then what? Huh?!” He lifted his head and looked at the Angel some emotion in his eyes but it was undecipherable.“Well… we can be like Romeo and Juliet.”Carrighan scoffed. “What? We meet a few times then kill ourselves! That sounds like some great fucking plan, Juliet!”Deme shook his head. “No, I meant in the star crossed lovers way without the whole death thing. We’ll just live our lives together.”“No,” Carrighan tore his gaze from the face of the man he… he loved. “It’s not going to happen.”He stood up and turned to stare at the other one, his eyes in slits.“I will not going down as a fucking Angel lover!! I hate Angels and of all the fucking goody two shoe God loving fuckers I hate you the most!”He was breathing heavily as his eyes opened to their regular size.“No… I don’t hate you” he whispered once he saw the hurt look on the Angel’s face. “But I can’t love you. I can’t; I never should have started this stupid thing. If… If I had just told Lucifer to fuck himself I wouldn’t be in this mess with you. I could be living my life the way I want to not… not depending on love from you! You of all people in this fucking world!”He had backed away.“I… I have to go. Don’t come find me and don’t come after me.”
I don't word fluff. I put in what needs to be put in there, so to think that I have to cut 10%... that's just stupid.
I actually amazed my dad when I ADDED almost 2,000 words to my first draft of The Doc Is In. And I think I still added more to it when I did the next draft.
So maybe editing isn't as bad as it could be, because sure, I'm making it better, but it's still a pain in the ass, lol.
I had something else I was going to say, but I forgot while going through that old manuscript of mine and falling in love again with my Deme and Carri.
How do you guys feel about editing? Do you adhere to the whole "take out 10%" thing? How does that make you feel, whether you do it or not?