Last week, Jason Schmitzer, Battlecorps editor, and the man who decides what to buy for the website, sent me a couple of Emails about stories I had submitted. One he took as is and sent it along to the Continuity people. But it was the second one that caught me off guard.
The Email said: "There's some I like in this, but I don't have the budget. If you can trim about 2,500-3,000 words out of it, I can probably make a go of it, but at 9,500 its too big."
My first thought was "How in the Hell am I going to cut out 2,500-3,000 words?!?!"
I had edited down stories before, but nothing like 2500 words before! How was I going to do this? My story was perfect! Wasn't it?
So I started back into the story, reading thought it. A few words snipped here, and a few sentances rewritten there, and suddenly my "perfect" story lost 1600 words and was now 8100 words in lenght (Word counts are always rounded to the nearest hundred) A good start, but I still needed to get rid of at least another 900 words. Again, what am I supposed to do?
I posted the shortened version to the workshop (Now moved, but I don't know how long we're going to keep it at that location because It's not a good interface despite being "Brand new!" Newflash: the old interface was a hell of a lot better -- I have no idea why you changed it, but change it back!), and worked on a couple of other stories for a couple of days.
I then went back, checked the comments and read over the story again. A couple of minor characters were cut (Amusing, but ultimately not contributing much to the story) the 'Mech combat was streamlined, and some of the final scene was rewritten to account for some changes earlier in ths story. I guess I cut about 1500 words, and repalced them with about 600 new words. The new story was a lean 7200 words, right at the 2500 word minimum I had to cut.
I sent it Saturday night. No matter what happens to it, I learned something that I knew but failed to put in place. "Edit as much as you can without compromising the story!"
The story is still the same, leaner and less cluttered than before. If it meets with Jason's approval, you'll see it on Battlecorps sometime in the future.