Lengthy Sci-fi novel.

by Dominik P. Offermann

Question: I finished writing my first book and reviewed and edited my draft around the 7th time now (lol lost count I guess). I verified the guidelines you give on this site, yet I find myself worried about something.

My story requires quite a lot of explanations and background information which I progressively bring forth during the novel. Backstory regarding the world's history is also introduced progressively. The problem is there is a lot of information I can't seem to cut without my whole plot breaking apart or removing flavor from the characters / descriptions of the places in the story. Still I end up with a draft of over 230000 words.

A friend said I could try and break the story apart but I don't see this being possible, given everything weaves so well together and supports each other. It feels like I have build a house of cards and can't remove any without it collapsing upon itself.

As this is my debut work I am already considering publishing it as an E-book, as I read publishers frown on very large stories...

Answer: One possible solution is that, if a publishing house is interested in your book, it would assign you a good editor who could help you trim the book without sacrificing the story.

As writers, we are often too close to a story to see what could or should be cut. It takes an objective eye. Often, a good editor can suggest cuts that can actually make the story stronger.

You could always try querying a few publishers and see if they find the length a problem.

If you are considering publishing your book yourself, you should probably still hire an editor to perform the same service. (One of the biggest problems with self-published books is that people skimp on editorial services, not realizing how important they can be.)

A third option might be to join a writer's group and solicit opinions from other writers about how you might revise the story.

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Sep 04, 2012
by: Anonymous

Thanks.I look into those options. Yet I if the book must be trimmed down to under 110k words more than half of what I got would have to go, which I don't see being possible ;)

I indeed still need people to proofread and give and outside opinion, but I write in English, a language almost no one speaks very well. (At least not at a level of being capable of giving good advice on my particular novel.)

Thanks again.

Sep 05, 2012
by: Dominik

Oh, there are plenty of good editors who work in English. Maybe there are not many in Portugal, but I'm sure you can find a good freelance English editor who lives in the UK or North America who you could work with. Distance is no problem with the internet.

Of course, you will want to look for someone with good credentials and experience editing fiction.

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