Nathan Bransford: What to cut when your book is too long

Nathan Bransford offers advice on how to handle a situation every writer (in just about every medium) is familiar with: How to choose what to cut out when you’ve gone over your )or your editor’s, or producer’s, whatever) page count. This one’s definitely a must-read.

by Nathan Bransford

Kill your darlings” is one of the most repeated bits of writing advice out there, but how do you know which darlings to murder? You need to decide what to cut from a novel, but it can be tricky.

Word counts matter. They don’t matter endlessly, as novels like Twilight attest, but an overly long novel will adversely impact your odds of finding traditional publication, especially for a debut.

And even if you’re self-publishing, no one wants to slog through a novel from an author who never once pressed the “delete” button in the course of writing a 7,000 page tome.

If you are starting with a more average word count it’s still helpful to tighten things up as much as possible, so this post is for you too.

Here’s how to know what to cut…. And it’s probably not what you’d think!

Redundancies in your prose

Believe or not, by far the most common culprit for bloated word counts is hiding in plain sight. It’s plain old sloppy writing.

Things like “Jane nodded her head” when Jane can just “nod.” What else is she going to nod with?…

Read it all at

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