Cutting Down My Novel
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Nov 21 2011
I know I’m years too late too, but I have a question about my latest novel, which is very long. It’s called “Broken Family Portrait, and it’s an unbelievable 303,400 words long. My character is a severe cerebral palsic who, among other things, cannot censor things he says in speeches due to a malfunctioning brain tumor.
Between all the drama between his family, the bullying he endures in his childhood/school years, and dealing with his own dysfunctional marriage, putting up with his sisters and their husbands who are abusive parents, and battling a pro-spanking society that seems to favour including children with severe physical and mental disabilities and retardation, etc., he sure has been through a lot.
I really don’t know how to get it down to 100,000 words or so without losing any plot elements or any part of my protagonist Robin’s sarcastic and witty nature. Yet, now I’m worried that no publisher will take it, and this is a novel I’m most proud of.
Some advice would be most appreciated. Thanks
It’s long and it’s not just long because it’s 300,000 words plus, it’s long because from your description you’re trying to include everything and the kitchen sink in there. I haven’t read your book so I have no idea if it reads long. Length based on word count is one thing, and it can be a problem not just for publishers but for readers too, but one of the reasons agents can get hung up on length is because it tends to be a symptom of an overwritten book, a book that isn’t concise and interesting, but starts to drag. I mean, frankly, and I realize it’s only a blurb, but what does a character with cerebral palsy who can’t sensor speech have to do with a pro-spanking society?
I’ll defer to my readers who have actually had to trim their own books, but my guess is that it can be done.