Month: February 2023

  • When is the best time for a developmental edit?

    When is the best time for a developmental edit?
    When is the best time for a developmental edit?

    So, you’ve been working on your novel or memoir and now you’re wondering when is the best time for a developmental edit.

    Maybe you’re even wondering if you need a developmental edit.

    In fact, that is the best starting point for this topic.

    Let’s check your writing background and circumstances.

    Let’s take a look at your background and current circumstances. Have a look at these questions:

    • Are you a beginner writer working on your first piece of writing?
    • Do you have any experience of writing groups, workshops, or courses?
    • Have you already had feedback on your writing from anyone likely to give you an honest assessment?
    • Are you in a hurry to boost your writing skills as opposed to taking your time to learn your craft?
    • Are you intending to publish your work yourself?
    • Do you hope to make a career or at least a side gig out of writing?

    I could have listed other questions, but I think this is a good starting point.

    Beginner writers don’t necessarily need to get a developmental edit on a rougher draft unless they are determined to shorten their learning time, they have the money, are aiming to publish themselves, and don’t have access to writing groups and other feedback.

    However, I’m not someone who believes people should be wasting their money on unnecessary services or services they are not yet ready for. So, let’s dig deeper.

    Let’s assume you are working on your first book – either a novel or memoir.

    Perhaps you don’t have access to a local writing group and you’re not comfortable engaging with online writing communities.

    Maybe you’ve tried to join some but you’ve just never found the right one.

    Or maybe you’re just shy and hate participating and you prefer to share your work in a more controlled situation.

    Developmental editing and manuscript critiques are still not your first option. There are times when they could be, but a beta read or working with a trustworthy critique partner might be a better cost-effective start.

    However, if you’ve not had much luck with beta readers, you might be reluctant to go down that path again.

    Nevertheless, it could still be worth your while looking for like-minded people online who are interested in your genre, are knowledgeable about it, and reliable enough to give you constructive feedback.

    But, for whatever reason, maybe this has not worked out for you or you just don’t want to go down that route. I get it – writers can be introverts. And like creative people in general, they can be wary of sharing their work.

    When you need feedback

    However, sooner or later, you need feedback. For one thing, bad habits can become engrained and it can become difficult to shake them off. But you also want to know:

    • Is my work good enough?
    • Would anyone want to read it?
    • Might an agent be interested?
    • What can I do better? Where can I improve?

    I have worked with quite a few beginner writers. In those instances, a developmental edit was useful for them because my prices at the time were lower. Some of them said I was cheaper than a writing course.

    But I did look at it to some degree as coaching mixed with developmental editing. The aim was to boost their skillset (and their manuscripts) to a whole new level.

    Opening chapters edit – affordable, fast, detailed

    But you don’t have to go for a full developmental edit to do this. You don’t even need to opt for a manuscript critique, which is cheaper but usually deals with an entire book.

    There are some editors, like myself, who offer opening chapters packages. I offer 10,000 words currently for £120. (Or £180 for 15,000 words.) It’s a flat rate, so you always know what you’re paying.

    There are no extra costs.

    From a price perspective, it’s more affordable, but it also means a newer writer doesn’t feel as overwhelmed by information and track comments right through the entire manuscript. It allows you to learn with less material.

    Some of the things an opening chapters edit will deal with

    • Your opening hook – do you grab the reader (and why it’s important to do so).
    • Do your writing style and tone fit the book’s genre (you’d be surprised what can impact this).
    • Your main character – are they well fleshed out and someone the reader will want to champion for an entire book?
    • What are your main character’s goals, aspirations at the beginning of the story? What do they want?
    • Narrative viewpoint(s) – does your point of view choice work in your narrative’s best interests?
    • Do you have an antagonist or antagonistic force? Who/what is blocking your main character’s goals?
    • If you have an antagonist, are they a fleshed-out credible character or a two-dimensional baddie with no redeeming features?
    • How soon does your plot begin? (Hint: it should start pretty soon.)
    • If you’re writing science fiction, fantasy, or historical fiction, do you have a lot of worldbuilding at the outset? (Watch out – this is a pace killer and could leave your reader bailing out before the story is underway.)
    • Character hierarchy – how many characters do you have, and how many are main characters, secondary, minor, etc? (Remember, the more time you give to minor and secondary characters, the less time you have for the main characters.)
    • The emotional and psychological dominoes – if something good or bad happens to your character, they should not forget about it by the next chapter. This is a generalisation, but if someone has had a bad experience in real life, it reverberates for days, weeks, even years. (This will be the subject of another post.)
    • Location: does your novel have a strong sense of place? (Location is more important to some stories than others.)
    • Do you have either too much or too little dialogue? Do you use dialogue to tell the reader things in a way that’s maybe too obvious and clunky? Is your dialogue the right tone for the scenes?
    • Do all your characters sound alike? (Do any of them have their own particular speech patterns?)
    • Is your dialogue correctly formattted? (I’ve seen some odd stuff in my time!)
    • Pacing – how well does your story move? Too fast? Too slow? The same speed all the way through?
    • How does your paragraph formatting affect your pacing? (This is a topic I’ll address in a future blog post.)
    • Are you using unnecessary transition scenes when you could just opt for a jump cut instead?
    • Your plot structure – even though I only assess the first 10,000 (or 15,000) words, I can also give you an idea of what you should be aiming for later on. Especially if you include a synopsis that helps outline the middle and end of your book.
    • Themes and subjects the opening chapters address.

    These are only a few of the things that might get looked at in an opening chapters edit. It partly depends on the individual manuscript and the author’s strengths and weaknesses.

    Don’t worry, all writers have their weaknesses!

    What you get with an opening chapters edit

    So, how does all this look in terms of what you get for your £120?

    • An editorial letter that usually runs to at least a few thousand words.
    • Track comments in the margins of your manuscript.
    • A reading list that addresses editorial suggestions and helps you develop your skillset further.
    • Where relevant, I might include a book map or visual material but not all manuscripts need this.
    • Email support – I respond to your queries about the edit.
    • A discount on a later manuscript critique or full developmental edit.

    The beauty of an opening chapters edit is that it’s not overwhelming, either from the point of view of time, amount of information to consume, or price.

    This is also a fast service – you can get your feedback within a week.

    You also don’t pay the full amount upfront. If I’m booked up, you can pay in three installments, though the payment period is very short owing to the express delivery time. If I’m not booked up, you can pay half in advance and half on completion.

    When is the best time for a developmental edit? Whenever you’re ready!

    But don’t forget you have writing group and beta reader options first.

    You can also try my FREE sample edit if you want to see what a developmental edit looks like. Feel free to contact me at

    In the meantime, here are testimonials from previous clients:

    If you’re ready for an opening chapters edit, you can find the service page here to find out more:

    Opening Chapters Developmental Edit – IndieCat Editorial

    Or you can contact me at karen@indiecateditorial.com.

  • Have you figured out your author brand?

    Have you figured out your author brand?
    Have you figured out your author brand?

    Have you figured out your author brand?

    Self-publishing indie authors are in a unique position to control their author branding. With no publishing house breathing down your neck, you get to choose pretty much everything. Your book title, the cover, any editors you choose to work with, and your website design.

    This freedom can come at a price: the huge overwhelm of so many options and even an inability to see how these different elements – title, cover art, website design, and more – need to be tied together into an integrated author brand. One that, over time, will become identifiable to readers and potential readers.

    Author branding includes a number of components:

    • Genre, including subgenre
    • Cover art (which should match genre)
    • Book titles can also fit in with genre and brand
    • Your website, social media banners, and marketing
    • Branding colours – which can also tie to book cover art
    • Fonts
    • Voice and tone of your language – romantic comedy will have a very different tone and voice from gothic horror
    • Vocabulary – for example, for children’s books your vocabulary will be simpler

    It’s important for these elements to be consistent across the board. That’s how you establish a distinctive author brand.

    Let’s dig deeper into these different components to see how they work.

    Genre and subgenre

    If you work in a single genre or subgenre, you have the advantage of a consistent marketing category. If, for example, you write cosy mysteries, then your author brand should reflect this.

    You should check out the competition in your own category, especially the most successful authors, to see what is commonplace. This includes the kinds of book titles people use.

    While you don’t want to copy someone else’s title, by looking across the genre you can get a feel of what works best.

    Cover art and titles

    Your cover art and book title should work within your genre.

    It obviously wouldn’t make sense for a cosy mystery book to have a dark, blood-splattered cover.

    Likewise, the book’s title can be important when it comes to conveying the genre and tone of the book. Title and cover art should work together, giving each other context.

    For example, if you had a novel called Death Comes to Oxford, the image will contextualise the genre. Is it a lighter cover? It might be seen as a cosy mystery. If it’s darker, with more violent imagery, it will look like a completely different type of book. Even the font will influence a reader’s perception about genre.

    How does your title interact with your cover art? Some titles will fit more than one genre and the cover art gives the clue to the genre.

    Cover art is very important in drawing a potential reader’s attention. It is the first thing they see. The human brain processes visual imagery much faster than text. But the cover art must fit into the author branding – this includes the genre.

    Your website and social media banners

    Ensure that you use consistent colours and tones and images across your website and social media banners. You could develop a set of brand colours associated with the colours you use in a book cover. Or the dominant colours you use in your cover series.

    One thing you can do is run an image through an online program to extract the hex code numbers for the colours. Some apps give you the basic dominant colour palette.

    Once you have your basic colour scheme for your brand, you can keep a note of the colours in your own brand guide. This guide is for your own use when you’re updating parts of your website or adding new material.

    Fonts

    Different business brands can have their own preferred fonts which they will list in their own brand guides. Are fonts so important for indie authors? Well, when it comes to your banners, website fonts, etc, it’s best not to use something radically different! You don’t want comic sans, for example!

    Fonts are also important for your book covers. They should be consistent with genre and if you have books in a series, the entire series should be using the same font. Ideally, all your books should be using the same font if you want to maintain brand consistency.

    Voice, tone, vocabulary

    The language you use in your marketing should reflect the tone of your books. If you write breezy contemporary romances, then your marketing language and the voice, tone, and vocabulary should reflect this on your website.

    A darker tone, pessimistic and depressing, isn’t going to go with a lighter-toned novel!

    Benefits of consistency in branding

    So what are the benefits of author branding and consistency in branding?

    • Over time your brand will become familiar and easily recognisable to those who’ve seen it before
    • It shows consistency and professionalism that matches mainstream publishing
    • Your brand colours and imagery, plus your taglines and titles, can immediately flag your genre or subgenre

    If you write in more than one genre, author branding might seem more intimidating. Certainly, it could be a problem if you publish different kinds of books under the same name. Especially if those genres are very different in tone – again, gothic horror versus contemporary romantic comedy.

    Some authors choose to use different names or variations on the same name to differentiate different genres. Think Ian Banks versus Ian M. Banks. If you’re only dealing with two major writing tracks, that could be your best option.

    There are writers like the late Tanith Lee who wrote across genres – science fiction, fantasy, horror – though these all have certain things in common. They are fantastical, and her lush prose was there regardless of genre. That was part of her author brand. Fans didn’t expect her to write in a completely different style for each genre. Her distinctive voice WAS a major part of her author brand.

    So, have you figured out your author brand yet?

    Indie authors are already up against a lot of snobbery in the publishing sector. That’s why, where possible, it’s better to produce polished books with good covers and a good marketing strategy. This benefits the reputation of indie publishing.

    But it’s hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Readers are inundated with choice. When you think strategically about branding and marketing, you give yourself a better chance at standing out. You become recognisable.

    It’s important to remember that single exposure to your marketing will not usually net a new reader. It takes many points of contact usually to convert someone to your product or service. However, an integrated author brand will already help you stand out from the crowd.

    So, have you figured out your author brand yet? If you haven’t, it’s time to give it some thought.

    Ready for a manuscript critique?

    If you need feedback on your novel, I have openings. As well as manuscript critiques, I can do full developmental edits. On a budget? You can opt for an opening chapters developmental edit which is full of useful advice you can apply to other parts of your manuscript.

    You can check my services page here for more details:

    Developmental Fiction Editing Services – IndieCat Editorial

    Related posts

    Why your book cover design matters – IndieCat Editorial

    How to use Facebook and Instagram ads – IndieCat Editorial

  • Character credibility and the domino effect

    Character credibility and the domino effect.
    Character credibility and the domino effect

    What is the most common problem I see in manuscripts? Let’s call it character credibility and the domino effect. But before I get to that, let’s check out the more obvious problems I’d be looking at.

    The more obvious developmental concerns

    As a developmental editor who deals with fiction, I obviously look at a novel’s structure, its plots and subplots, and the strength of the characterisation.

    I’ll also look at pacing, point of view, whether the right point of view and tense is being used, whether there are inconsistencies in POV.

    I’ll look at the themes. And whether the plots and character arcs serve the theme.

    I’ll check out the novel’s location. Does it needs to be fleshed out more? Or is there is too much detail slowing down the pace?

    I’ll check dialogue for any problems there.

    I’ll look at the balance of showing versus telling. And I’ll check the beginning to see if it has a good early hook, the middle for standing strong, and the ending for closing in the best place. I’ll also check to see if the ending matches the promise of the beginning.

    In fact, there are all sorts of things that will come up in a developmental edit. Some writers have POV nailed down to the point there isn’t a lot to say about it. They might have as much dialogue as needed, and it’s strong and doesn’t need much attention.

    Different writers have their own strengths and weaknesses. Over time they can become aware of what they need to work on so that by the next novel, they know what to look out for.

    Psychology and the domino effect

    But there are one or two things that come up so often that I thought I’d write a post about them. They’re actually related to one another. I call them ‘the dominoes’ and often ‘the psychological dominoes’. However, it’s not necessarily always an issue of psychology. But psychology is something that I end up commenting on the most in a manuscript’s margins.

    To start with a basic example of the dominoes – imagine your character is shot in the leg. That would be painful. If they’re not used to being shot in the leg, or being attacked at all, there will likely be some lingering trauma for a while. So it wouldn’t make sense for you to have your character walking about a week later without any pain or any memory of what happened.

    Yet this is the kind of thing I do see in manuscripts.

    It’s usually not a gunshot though. It will be something else. It could be a terrible accident that should impact the characters for quite a while and reverberate through the novel until there’s some kind of resolution – even if it’s not the main plot and you don’t spend too much time on it.

    Basically, once you set up that first domino and knock it over, there should be a chain of dominoes going over after it. A chain of consequences.

    How would someone in the real world react?

    This doesn’t mean you have to angst over following through on every single thing that happens to your characters. But it’s certainly worth thinking about how someone in the real world would react to something like that. Would they get over this event immediately? Or would they think about it sometimes in the dead of night? Perhaps they could be frightened it would happen again?

    I often find that characters have suddenly developed amnesia about things that have happened earlier in the book. And it’s a form of amnesia that just wouldn’t happen in the real world.

    Sure, you don’t think about bad things all the time. But there will be little things that sometimes trigger a memory and a physical response to that memory.

    Your characters must be credible

    This is the kind of thing I often address in margins. Because otherwise characters lack credibility. They don’t act like real people. They do what is required in any one scene. But this will undermine their overall believability and even their likeability in the eyes of the reader.

    For example, a character that doesn’t think about a tragic event after it happens and carries on happily could end up looking heartless or even psychopathic.

    While you might indeed want to create an unlikeable character, they still have to be credible. Even unlikeable people will want to avoid putting themselves into dangerous or upsetting situations again. Even unlikeable people can mourn for a loved one.

    The importance of creating engaging characters

    One of the most important goals early on in your novel should be to get the reader to care about their character and want to know what happens to them. At the very least, if the character is Patrick Bateman, the reader should be intrigued by them.

    That’s why digging deeper into character psychology is so important.

    Readers don’t remember every detail of a plot long after they’ve finished the book. But they remember how the book made them feel. They’ll remember whether they fell in love with the characters or strongly identified with any of them. They’ll remember the atmosphere of the book too.

    So, characterisation is really important and that means making your characters as believable as possible.

    An example of the dominoes

    This does not mean loads of reflection or angst, which would block forward momentum of the plot. But it does mean remembering that your character does not have amnesia. There will be times they remember something. You can use memory triggers carefully in the right places.

    Here’s an example: imagine your character goes out one night and is beaten up. They shouldn’t then swan out the door another night as if they don’t recall what happened the first time. Your character should be wary about going out alone. They might even put it off. They might have to overcome their fear. When they do go out, they should be hypervigilant. Obviously it depends on your plot and the character’s situation whether they’re likely to be attacked again. But if they have fears, and you play on it, you can increase the stakes for the character, and the tension for the reader. You can make the reader worry even if nothing happens.

    It’s not about creating false tension, it’s just natural that someone would be worried and you don’t necessarily have to add much to the text to show the inner battle to overcome a fear. It’s not about adding in a chunk of words. You just need to show the consequences of a previous plot event, how it impacts the character, and how the character learns to deal with it over time.

    Otherwise, if they sail out the door with no concerns, you’ve missed a bunch of opportunities to show inner conflict, higher stakes, tension, and so on.

    Use psychological triggers – but don’t overdo it

    If bad things happen to your character, consider what might trigger them into remembering. It could be something that another character says in a conversation that briefly causes them upset or stress. They can overcome it. But if a character’s loved one is murdered, and someone else mentions another murder, the main character cannot help but be triggered into remembering/feeling/reacting etc, complete with physical symptoms, however brief.

    Dealing with the dominoes is not something you have to worry about much in an early draft. You can leave this to the polishing stage. But it’s best to deal with it a bit earlier than late drafts. That’s because if you do introduce triggers, it might mean scene rewrites or some new scenes.

    Most of all, it’s not every single thing that happens to a character that matters. It’s what someone in a particular situation would naturally feel when a possible trigger is present.

    Or when they’re lying in bed at night unable to sleep. This is a time when people in the real world do angst. But I often see characters going to bed, even in the middle of dramatic events. And they seem to fall asleep immediately, when many real people would be tossing and turning!

    Conclusion

    It’s worth paying attention to your own reactions to things – how you’re reminded of events from the past. How other people around you behave.

    Writing a novel doesn’t mean you have to write a psychological manual. But adding in psychological realism can help boost your characters and the inner conflicts to another level. It can also help, where relevant, in raising a scene’s stakes.

    Ultimately you’re making your characters stronger. You’re showing a chain of actions. Character amnesia (which can leave a plot looking episodic and disconnected) is eliminated, and your stakes are raised.

    Looking for feedback on your novel?

    I currently have openings for manuscript critiques, mini opening chapters developmental edits, and full developmental edits. I can also give feedback on novel outlines with a report and margin comments.

    If you have any particular questions, you can contact me at karen@indiecateditorial.com. You can also check out my services page here:

    Developmental Fiction Editing Services – IndieCat Editorial

  • 10 ways to improve your novel’s pacing

    10 Ways To Increase Your Novel's Pacing.
    10 Ways To Improve Your Novel’s Pacing

    While your novel doesn’t have to gallop along at a fast pace, sometimes storytelling gets bogged down and momentum is lost. Too slow and a reader could just give up. Be vigilant of anything that pulls your pace down. Here are 10 ways to improve your novel’s pacing:

    1. Slow beginnings and world building

    It is perfectly normal to take some time warming up your characters and world when you’re working on an early draft.

    Later, when you have the story down, you can start to work on the beginning and other parts of the novel.

    When writers don’t address their slow beginnings, this leads to plots that take forever to get started.

    But in historical and fantasy fiction there can also be a lot of worldbuilding. I call this scaffolding. You’re erecting the scaffolding that your story will be partly built on.

    Later, once your plot and characters can stand by themselves, you need to take the scaffolding down. Readers don’t need to know everything about the world of the story at the outset.

    The point of the beginning is to hook the reader so they want to read more. Too much info dumping weighs the beginning down and could lead to readers abandoning the novel.

    2. Sagging middles and drawn-out endings

    If there’s nothing much happening in the middle of your novel, your readers will notice. They have reached the halfway point and the pace will be dragging. There is a good chance readers will bail.

    After all, there are plenty of other books out there to tempt them.

    Your midpoint is an important point in your story and you absolutely need to have your readers furiously turning the pages.

    Likewise, a drawn-out ending will kill the pace there. Once all the major plot threads are tied up, there isn’t a reason to carry on. Resolution should be short. You also don’t need to explain the fates of all the characters, particular the more minor characters.

    3. Large block paragraphs

    If you have too many block paragraphs that run on a long time you are forcing your reader into visually tracking one long line after another. This can be tiring for the eye and the sight of a densely packed page can be off-putting for readers. Especially if they’re tired and looking to wind down.

    The visual tracking of one long line after another also means that there are more words on the page and it takes longer to get to the bottom. This might work in some scenes, but beware of where you want your narrative to pick up and move more swiftly.

    If you want your reader to quickly turn the page, it’s best to break your paragraphs up a bit so that the writing flows down the page rather than across.

    There are other issues with paragraphing which I will address in another post. However, paragraphing is something you can focus on when you are polishing your manuscript. You don’t need to worry about it when you’re still getting your story down on paper.

    4. Long sentences

    Long sentences can work well in some places. But if you’re reaching a point of drama and high tension you should aim to break them up more. This helps create a sense of breathlessness.

    Long sentences suggest a leisurely time for contemplation or reflection.

    Short sentences in a dramatic scene suggest urgency and no time to dwell on less important things.

    However, avoid too many short sentences one after the other of a similar length. This can create a monotonous staccato rhythm that will not read well.

    5. Baton passes

    It’s not unusual in a multi-viewpoint narrative to move directly from one POV in a scene to a different perspective in the same scene. There will be a line break to indicate the change of point of view. But in real time, the scene is just flowing on from the end of the last section.

    Baton passes can work well, but if there are too many of them, they can slow the overall pace. Where possible, opt for a jump cut forward in time that propels narrative momentum onwards.

    6. Nothing is happening

    Every chapter in your novel should contribute something to the character and dramatic arc. Each chapter should also propel your story onwards.

    While it might be fun to spend more time with your characters, the plot is ultimately the engine of the story.

    If there’s little plot in chapter after chapter, the pace will drop through the floor.

    This can leave the reader feeling that nothing is happening.

    Dialogue and interaction alone will not drive the plot on. Even amusing characters can only keep your reader’s attention for so long.

    Readers know instinctively that something is wrong with a story when nothing is happening for a while. They have the experience of other novels and films to teach them over time how story structure works. They might not be able to articulate exactly where things should be happening – they just know something is off.

    I recommend KM Weiland’s books on novel structure if you want to dig deeper.

    7. Too many long dialogue scenes

    When dialogue is sparkling it leaps off the page, and the characters are shown off to their full potential.

    Unfortunately, if dialogue goes on too long, it can become more tiring to read. Especially if it’s not important dialogue, and it doesn’t reveal anything or advance the plot.

    Often you can summarise what characters are saying to speed things up and only focus on the most important speech. That also allows the most important parts of a conversation to stand out and not be buried among more mundane chat.

    There will be times when it’s fine to report an entire conversation. Especially if it’s a tense one, or it’s not too long.

    But if you find yourself always reporting full conversations, it’s fine for your early drafts. However, you should go in later and shape these scenes so they move better. Aim to highlight the most important speech and interactions/drama.

    8. Too much backstory

    While you might know a lot about your characters (because it helps you write their story), your readers should really learn about your characters through their actions, choices, thoughts, and words.

    Readers don’t usually need a lot of backstory information.

    It’s fine to include some, and it’s often a good idea to sprinkle it through a scene or story so it doesn’t weigh any particular part down.

    If you weave backstory well through the story, not lingering on it longer than you need to in any one place, you can make it almost invisible at times. The reader gets the information but doesn’t feel bogged down by info dumping.

    Is it possible for longer backstory to work? Yes. Just be careful where you do it – not interrupting a dramatic scene, for example.

    Think about how long the backstory is, how it contributes to that part of the narrative – it might actually work after a more dramatic scene when the characters are catching their breath and reflecting on what has happened or what they’ll do next.

    9. Flashbacks

    One problem with both flashbacks and backstory is that they both look to the past. They don’t drive the present day plot forwards, and therefore don’t contribute as well to forward momentum.

    Does that mean they’re bad? No. It’s a matter of how much and where they are placed.

    Flashbacks can be more dynamic than backstory because you’re taking the reader back into the past directly, like it’s happening now.

    And some plots rely more heavily on the past.

    Nevertheless, if handled badly, too many flashbacks can block forward plot momentum.

    There are exceptions – when flashbacks through the novel build up a picture that explains a mystery in the present. However, that crosses over into multiple timeline storytelling.

    Flashbacks should add something to the story you’re writing. Otherwise, the priority should be to keep things moving forwards where possible.

    10. Watch your word count

    While there is no ideal word count for all novels, each novel probably has an optimal word count range based on how complex the plot is.

    It’s fine to have a 120,000 word novel if there’s plenty going on. It’s not so fine if very little happens.

    The lack of action and plot development will bog the pace down to a near standstill.

    Again, this is not something you need to worry about when you’re first writing your story. With each subsequent draft, you can assess how much can be cut for the benefit of the whole manuscript.

    It’s not always easy to delete scenes you’re fond of, but if you want your novel to be read and enjoyed by others you’ll have to be more ruthless.

    The good news is that while you might miss these scenes in the short term, you usually won’t in the longer term. Especially if you feel your manuscript is stronger for the cuts.

    Looking for feedback on your pacing?

    And if you think your manuscript needs to be checked for pacing and other issues, you can check out my services pages. Pacing is one of the things I look at when I do either a manuscript critique or a full developmental edit.

    If you’re on a budget and you’re interested in an opening chapters developmental edit of your first 10,000 words or your first 15,000 words, then I’ll look at things like too much world building early on, a slow beginning, paragraph blocking, overly long dialogue scenes, and much more. You can contact me at karen@indiecateditorial.com.

    And if you want know more about the differences between a manuscript critique and a developmental edit, you can check my blog post on the subject here:

    Developmental edit or manuscript critique? – IndieCat Editorial