Yesterday I finished going through my novel with what I thought was a fine toothed comb. Ha ha, yeah right! Took me a while, but it turns out I only cut approximately 30K words, and it's still too long. As I was going through, I had a feeling I would have to cut off what started as Part I. Now I am positive it has to be done. It breaks my heart to do so. Seriously. I love Part I. In the grand scheme of things, though, that part of the story really isn't necessary. Removing it will take off about 40K words. If I remove another 30K words in addition to that, I'll be a lot closer to having a publishable manuscript.
In case you're wondering how I managed to let a story get so out of control, let me elaborate. I wrote a fairly long book, got to the end and felt the story wasn't over, and wrote a sequel. But I didn't like the sequel as a sequel. I thought it needed to be part of the whole story. Putting the two together gave me a manuscript that was more than 200K words long! Slim to no chance of getting that published since I've not had anything else published yet! So began the trim and tigheten process. And after cutting out 30K words, I can certainly see the difference. The story is much better.
Since last night, I've been thinking about what else can be cut. There are a few things I can think of right off the bat now that Part I will be gone. And I'm playing with a few other ideas, too. Before I do anything else, though, I have to let the story sit. I should leave it for a month, but I'm already chomping at the bit. It's hard for me to take a break. I need to be able to look at it with fresh eyes, though. I'll wait at least a week, perhaps two. We'll see.
Until then, I have at least ten fiction books on my bookshelves waiting to be read. There's another eight non-fiction waiting for my attention, also. Guess I'll get some reading done now!