Gasp! I’m a word hoarder. I recently came to that shocking realization when writing a story that I plan to submit for the 2017 GCLS fundraiser. I’ve been open and honest about my OCD (or rather CDO) and also my hoarding tendencies during our major move from big house to small condo, but this was a brand new flaw that I am still trying to get used to.
So what does combining hoarding with OCD look like? I am a person who tinkers a lot with my works in progress. I tinker so much that for my first published books they assigned a final editor that had the job of fixing my book without any back and forth conversation. Rightfully so, they gave me strict instructions to look through the final manuscript, learn from the changes, and ultimately approve it without any major re-writes. Sure I could veto anything I didn’t like, but even I wasn’t stupid enough to try to sneak in any major changes.
They have since loosened up a bit and I was shocked when the last editor involved me in the final editing process as much as when I am involved with beta editing. I almost longed for the past set-up, because it was a lot of work to be that immersed in the process!
Now….combine word hoarding to my propensity to tinker and the end product is a swollen bloated mess. I never want to delete any of the words I write. I only want to add to them.
Recently, I sent out the first draft of the short story for the fundraiser to my beta readers. Erroneously, I believed I was well within the word limit and marched along in my happy place, knowing I was going to add to the story after hearing back from my betas. One beta suggested I add a little transition to explain what happened to the ex, I happily obliged and she liked the new scene calling it, “perfect.” She noted that not only did I fill in the gap, but I also gave more insight into the main character. Another beta noted she wanted more about the experience at the GCLS con. I figured I had about another thousand words to expand on that so I remained gloriously ignorant eager to tinker some more.
I don’t know what possessed me to check the submission criteria, but I did and f&@kity f#%k f#%k, not only did I not have another thousand words to play with, I needed to cut a thousand words.
Well…let me tell you, that was painful. It was at this point the illumination happened…I am a word hoarder. I set about deleting unnecessary scenes or descriptors that might be redundant. I found a few I could delete without slicing a major artery. I hit the find button and typed in “that”…that (he he he) only gained me about thirty words. I kept looking at the word count and it kept mocking me. I started swearing at it. It didn’t respond other than to slowly reduce to nowhere near what I needed. Finally, I started highlighting big sections and then cringing when I punched the delete key. I was getting very close. The last thing I did was delete many of the markers that let the reader know who is speaking, because frankly it was obvious without the, she said. I believe the final two words deleted were, Jasmine said. I now have exactly 6,000 words which is the limit noted in the submission guidelines. Confession time – every bone in my body wants to take this story and make it at the very least a novella, because I am a word hoarder.
Editors help me hide this flaw, but if you want to see for yourself little of my malady…yup you know the drill…click on the links below which will take you to sites that enable you to buy my books! By the way, I obviously don’t have an editor for my blogs!