As long as it needs to be

I'm working on the editing/redrafting of Flight this week, coupled with a bit of programming and website work. Most of the editing is adding world-building, more introspection, and a bit more description of the environment. Not to mention smoothing out a few nasty snarls. It is making the chapters a bit longer but I didn't think it was that bad.

On a lark, I decided to do a full word count of the novel.

The original goal was to write a novel about 80-100k words. It seemed like the right area for the market (fantasy YA-ish) and the last novel ended up being 140k words edited down to 108k.

Today's count is just under 180k and I'm only a fifth done with the editing/expansion. For a goal of 100k, I'm definitely going in the wrong direction. Even assuming a 25% reduction for tightening up the prose, I'm going to be well over my desired word goal.

The problem is, do I start cutting characters or plots? MZR said that a "novel is as long as it needs to be". So, I decided to keep expanding the scenes to make it a good story, then decide how to cut it. I probably should cut the side characters now, but I'm pretty sure they add the depth to the story that makes it more interesting.

I'm also thinking about asking the beta readers to give me an idea of what they don't like, which scenes they glossed over, and which plots left them cold. Then, work on trimming those. For that, I have to write mostly the full version.

As with being a father, I have no clue what I'm doing, but that sounds good today.