Just Starting?

Step-by-step coaching on your novel

Work in Progress

Weekly feedback and networking

Career Building

Strategies for success

Thomas Nelson to be Acquired

(Galley Cat)

HarperCollins to Buy Thomas Nelson

HarperCollins Publishers revealed today that they have sealed a “definitive agreement” to buy Christian publisher Thomas Nelson. Terms of the deal were not revealed, and will be finalized by the end of the year.
Follow this link to read the complete release. Thomas Nelson publishes many inspirational titles, including books by authors like Billy GrahamMax Lucado and Dave Ramsey. In 1988, HarperCollins acquired the Christian publisher, Zondervan.
HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray had this comment in the release: “Founded in 1798 in Edinburgh, Scotland, Thomas Nelson shares a long and rich heritage with both New York’s Harper Brothers and Scotland’s William Collins & Sons. It is thus with great pleasure that I look forward to welcoming Thomas Nelson to the HarperCollins family.”

How to Cut the Fat from Your WIP

When I contracted my novella and had to cut 36,000 words off my WIP, I knew it was going to be hard. In fact, I almost bailed on submitting the anthology because I knew that would mean cutting more than half of my story. The pain of deleting my brilliant prose aside, I knew it would be difficult to edit this mystery whose characters and clues were tightly woven together. But I signed that contract, took a deep breath, and said a prayer. I could do this!

The first 10,000 words went easily when I realized there were a lot of unnecessary words I could cut. Then I started messing with my characters’ voices and that hurt. So I moved on to the boring, not so important scenes. Found a few of those. Cut out a couple of fun, but unnecessary characters and started the whole process again.
This went on for months until I was down to the last 8,000 words. I wrote to my agent telling him I was having a hard time swallowing this elephant. I couldn’t see how I could cut the last 8,000 words. He very wisely told me that when the ark is sinking, I should throw the elephant out first. In other words, find big chunks I could cut.
Problem was, I did that. Over and over again. Or did I? Sure, I got rid of the easy stuff, then the scenes I could live without, but now 8,000 words shy of my goal I had to take a closer look at my story and go chapter by chapter salvaging the voice and heart of my story as well as cutting the stuff my book could live without. Notice I didn’t say “What I could live without!”
Was it easy? No, but I got my story down to 21,000. Here are some things I learned along the way, so it won’t be so difficult for you next time your baby’s put on a few too many pounds.
Don’t Show Everything
I know it’s been drilled into us to show don’t tell, but a wise author once said that refers primarily to emotions. I learned that I could “tell” how a person got from point A to point D and skip the details in between. Not only will it make your story move, but it will cut the word count.
Cut the Unnecessary Words
You know that word or phrase your character ALWAYS uses all the time JUST like my character DOES. JUST cut it out ALREADY! JUST do a search for those words and CAPITALIZE them, so when you go BACK through you WIP, they jump out at you. I cut several thousand words this way!
Cut the Double Talk
I admit I’m wordyEditing this story made me realize I often say the same thing a couple of times in different ways. For example, I might have internal dialogue and external dialogue that say similar things or my character might ask himself a question when it was already expressed in another way in a previous chapter. Not only can it be annoying to the reader, but it slows down the action. Just cut it out, no matter how much you’re in love with all the creative ways you’ve said it.
Resist the Urge to Explain (RUE)
In an effort to make my character’s motivations clear, I often tried to explain them through internal dialogue, external dialogue or both. Then I started asking myself “Does the reader need to know this now?” If the answer was no, I cut it and looked for a shorter way to weave in the motivation later. I learned, most times it was unnecessary. I had packed the scene enough that I believe the reader understood without me telling them.
Pick Your Adverbs, Adjectives, and Conjunctions Carefully
Most times, if your writing is strong, you don’t need many adverbs and adjectives. Sometimes you do. I noticed my adjectives would sometimes come in pairs. That’s when I chose one over the other. When it comes to starting a sentence, I seem to favor AND and BUT. I’m not sure why, but now that I know, I can go back and keep the conjunctions that add to the story. And I’m not talking word count.
Get Rid of Prepositions
Trying to cut those last 8,000 had me looking closer at my sentence structure and prepositions. I learned by cutting out some prepositions I could save two words. For example. Instead of “the pieces of the telescope” I could say, “the telescope’s pieces.” With the search and find feature, I could track down these pesky prepositions and send them packing.
Cut the Scene Short
I like to wrap up a scene sometimes with a cliff hanger, often times with internal dialogue. But I found that if I cut the last sentence or two from the scene, it still works. Often times it was better.
Contractions are Your Friend
This might not work for time period pieces, but since mine WIP was a contemporary, anywhere I could use a contraction, I did. Unless your character is “proper” or foreign, most people talk in contractions anyway.
Editing our babies is one of the hardest things we do as authors, but it’s necessary especially if you’re contracted for 20,000 words and have a story that’s 56,000 words. So did I get my word count down? I knew my anthology partners were a little shy of their word count so I did go a bit over…and got a note back I needed to cut another 700. How did I do it? By going back through the list above.
How do you get your word count down and what techniques have you found to make it easier?

Gina Conroy, a.k.a. “the other Gina,” is a new monthly contributor to Novel Rocket. She’s the founder of Writer…Interrupted and is still learning how to balance a career with raising a family. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary and her first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, releases from Barbour Publishing in January 2012.

He Watches Over Me

David Castillo Dominici: freedigitalphotos.net

He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3)            

Several four- to five-year-olds clustered around a LEGO table, oblivious to the worship band on the screen in the family area of our church. A little girl leaned forward to grab one of the trains. She slipped and ended up under the table with the chair on top of her. Her eyes grew wide. But before a cry escaped her lips, her father covered the length of the room and swept her into his arms. He held her in one arm while he righted the chair. Then he swung her to him, looked her up and down, and smiled. Turning her away from him, he sat her in the chair. Within seconds she was engrossed with the LEGO toys. He drew up a chair a little way behind her and sat there for the rest of the service.

            I don’t remember the sermon or the songs we sang that Sunday. But an image is still fresh in my mind—a father watching over his daughter as he sat close enough to help if needed, far enough not to hover.
            It reminds me that I’m not alone in life or in my homeschool. My Father is near—close enough to reach out and steady me when I stumble or pick me up when I fall. He counsels me, instructs me, and guides each step I take.
            “The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (Psalm121:7-9).
Digging deeper: What reassurance does Psalm 121 offer you?
Excerpted from School Is Where the Home Is: 180 Devotions for Parents by Anita Mellott, copyright © 2011 by Anita Mellott. Used by permission of Judson Press, www.judsonpress.com.

NovelRocket is a MyBookTherapy and Susan May Warren website.

Copyright ©2017 MyBookTherapy. All rights reserved.

For help or questions, contact NovelRocket@mybooktherapy.com