Letting go of 60,000 words.

The YA urban sci-fi that I am currently working on is a rewrite. I had written it, completed it, and even submitted it once or twice. But it was full of plot holes, so in the middle of last year, after it was resting for about a year, I decided to rewrite it.
Now, while the original version was on submission I had started on book 2 in the series. I pulled out this sequel last night, curious to see how far I had gotten with it because I had forgotten.
I was shocked to see I had written 60,000 words!
60,000! That’s a small novel.
I was sure it was going to be more like 10,000.
And guess what, because book 2 is a follow on for the original book 1, I have to let it all go because the plot has changed so dramatically.
60,000 words, so, so many words. It kind of feels like a punch to the gut.
But it has to be done.
I’ve read about a lot of writers who have written manuscripts that never get published, or they start a novel, write a huge amount and scrap it because it’s not working. Now I know how they feel first hand.

Such is the life of a writer.

How about you? Have you ever had to let go of a large amount of words before?

12 thoughts on “Letting go of 60,000 words.

  1. Oh wow – that’s hard. Can you keep the mss, tweak and make it a stand alone book?

    As I’m a real plotter, I don’t lose many words. Before I start writing I already know my characters inside and out. I have a lose direction of the plot and start writing. My characters guide me but I found this method works best for me.

    All the best with your writing. Don’t throw those words away. You can always use them…somewhere, sometime.

    1. Thanks. I won’t throw them away, I’ll keep them on my computer in a folder, but I don’t think they’ll work for anything else, but that’s okay. Hopefully when I start writing book 2 again it will be bigger and better than what I originally wrote.

  2. I wrote 50,000 on a novel I was writing on and off. I look bad and they’re all awful words so I don’t feel too bad letting them go.

    1. I think it’s the initial reaction of having to let go of something that took a fair amount of your time. Once you realise it’s for the best, its not so bad and It’s a good learning experience for writers. You have to learn to let go and cut and edit, even if you love what you’ve written.

  3. Yeah, I’ve been there, unfortunately. Sometimes it’s a necessity. A difficult one to swallow… But it does make way for bigger and better stuff. For sure.


  4. Accck, I feel ya. The most I cut out of a novel once was about 70k words. (The MS was originally around 169k words I think … gahh, it was massive!) But I actually didn’t cut out much plot at all. Most of what I cut out was needless descriptions, internal rambling, etc. and I think I only cut out one entire scene. Anyway, I think it was a good experience because it taught me a lot about cutting down my writing and letting go of things I don’t need. Before that, I was always very timid about cutting things out––but now I can do it without a second thought. 😛

    1. It is a very good learning experience. All part of a job as writer. It does get easier with practice, and knowing your making your manuscript better helps to lessen the pain.
      Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

  5. Oh my gosh, that sucks! I’m actually rewriting a novel right now. I’m hoping to be able to keep a fair amount of the dialogue with just some tweaking, but so far I’ve basically written 11,000 words from scratch.

    1. Good luck with the rewrites, remember that sometimes you have to let go of words, passages, even chapters sometimes, and even if you love them, to make your book better.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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