I know this as a rule Stephen King defined in his book 'On Writing' and I'm sure he didn't invent it/other people do similar things, but anyway, he said that the second draft of a novel should be 10-15% shorter than the 1st draft. The reason is because, of course, you want to get rid of the excess in the story. Cut the fat, if you will. I'm finding it really hard to do. My first draft was 144k or so words. I've been revising it for the last 3 months (looong process), am on my 3rd go through of the whole novel, and currently the word count is 148.5k. Now, while I have no way of knowing this, I suspect that in the process I have cut out close to 10% of what was originally there, but then I have made up for that and more by adding stuff. I think adding stuff is inevitable in the 2nd draft to tie up loose ends, bring out themes, develop characters, etc, etc. Also, my genre is fantasy, so I find myself adding a lot just to make the world coherent and to make sure that the unique things about my fantasy world are clear. That being said, does anyone have any advice on how to achieve this goal? Should I try to restrict how much I add? Also, for those who also try to follow this 'rule' do you think that the 10% is mostly through plot reductions (cutting out whole scenes) or through reducing wordiness (same plot/amount of scenes, more or less, just said more concisely), or a combination of both? This was kind of unclear for me in On Writing. I don't know exactly what elements King is suggesting that writers should be looking for to take out. I was thinking that maybe I should just wait until I think the story is complete, and then return for 'cutting the fat.' For example, if I finish this run-through (the run through I'm on has the specific purpose of tying loose ends, making everything coherent and nice) with 150k words, then I go back with the goal of cutting it to 135k or so instead of trying to bring the word count down from the original 144k count of the first draft. Any thoughts/advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.