The YA novel I’m sending out to agents right now is 95,000 words, about 5,000 words past the high end of the count for YA fantasy. I’d like to cut out 5,000 words, but the story is pretty tight and I haven’t found the place to make more than minor cuts.
So, I’m being pretty word-count conscious as I work on my next project, even though I’m early on in the process. My second draft is already 60,699 words, which is pretty high considering how much fleshing out I need to do. As I’ve been revising (on paper) I’ve found some places to cut. I cut some secondary characters that I really liked but added to much word count for not enough story development, and I used some other characters to take on their functions. I also cut an entire scene which duplicated a much more important scene later. That was easy, because it was a first draft exploration of my story when I still wasn’t sure where it was going. I consider that developmental work and not wasted work, because it got the story to where it needed to go.
Of course, I also added a whole lot of words, mostly in description and to deepen character and action scenes, so I have a feeling I might come out even. I’ll be reporting back.
In no particular order:
Ice / Sarah Beth Durst.
Ingo / Helen Dunmore.
Magic or madness / by Justine Larbalestier.
Libyrinth / Pearl North.
Wizard’s holiday / Diane Duane.
The Shamer’s war / Lene Kaaberbol. (The series just kept getting better.)
Graceling / Kristin Cashore.
Impossible / Nancy Werlin.
Enchantress from the Stars & The Far Side of Evil / Sylvia Engdahl.
Tomorrow, when the war began / John Marsden. And the rest of the series. Actually I devoured them until I felt slightly ill.
The graveyard book / Neil Gaiman
A great and terrible beauty / Libba Bray.
Violet on the runway / Melissa Walker.
Some books I started to read but didn’t finish. More a comment on my mood than the writing
A princess of Roumania / Paul Park.
Fire / Kristin Cashore.
Inkheart / Cornelia Funke ; translated from the German by Anthea Bell.
Dark Reflections / Kai Meyer
Comfortable with uncertainty : 108 teachings / Pema Chödrön ; compiled and edited by Emily Hilburn Sell.
The glass castle : a memoir / Jeannette Walls. This memoir blew me away, and I usually don’t read memoir.
Dream big! : a roadmap for facing life’s challenges and creating the life you deserve / Deborah Rosado Shaw.
Patricia Briggs. Whatever her two newest series are called.
Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series (about half)
Emma / by Jane Austen.
The spirit lens: a novel of the Collegia Magica / Carol Berg.