I’ve got the book down to 399 pages.  It was 435 pages, when I started cutting.  I managed to cut the length of a couple of chapters, and I’m proud of this effort, though I know it’s not enough.  399 is still too long for middle-grade fiction.  And it’s not 399 Courier – it’s 399 Garamond.

I know that Garamond isn’t the traditional manuscript font, but I can’t write in Courier.  Courier is depressing.  However, it’s worth noting that in Courier (which is how I’m supposed to take a real word count), the manuscript is actually 581 pages.  According to Word, the manuscript is around 120,000 words, but if I do the word count calculation properly (250×581), it’s 145,000 words.

Too long, too long, too long.

I wish it didn’t matter.  I hope it won’t end up mattering as much as I fear.  When I was asked to cut 50-100 pages, I hoped that 50 would be enough – and maybe it still will be.  I think I could surrender another 14 pages if I absolutely had to.  Another 64, though… I don’t know how that would work.  It’s not clear to me.  It would mean gutting three chapters’ worth of material, and everything that’s left now is critical to the development of the story, the characters, and the series overall.  Or at least, I think it is.

That doesn’t mean I think it’s above improvement; I’m sure it can be made better.  It just means that, at this point, I’ve done what I know how to do.



  1. How about cutting it into three parts and making it a trilogy? It’s all the rage these days. 🙂

    • Well, it’s the first book in a series. So it can’t be its own trilogy. But it’s a good idea! (And this is yet another reason why I will probably wind up publishing it on my own – length.)

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