1. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

    Sep 30, 2015
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    Reducing page count

    Discussion in 'Novels' started by Lew, Jun 8, 2016.

    Most of us are concerned with word count, which is easy to handle, just find shorter ways to say something, delete something unnecessary. But sometimes we are concerned with page count, which as some of you may have noticed, can be stubbornly resistant to changes in word count.

    Here is a tip I found: To get rid of a page, you have to get rid of lines of text. A one inch margin, 12 pt double spaced page has about 22 lines, and typically around 350 words, average of 16 words per line. Figuring about 10 pages per chapter, a chapter has 3500 words or so. Cutting 10 percent out of a chapter to kill a page is a tough job, unless you start out really verbose.

    But here is how to do it. The last page of a chapter usually doesn't fill the full page. Pick the chapter with the shortest "spillover" at the end. Say you have a chapter the ends with just three lines on a page, you only need to get rid of three lines, to get rid of that page.

    The same thing is true of paragraphs. The last line of a paragraph will not usually not fill the last line. Find the paragraph in that chapter that has the shortest spillover to the last line. Shorten that paragraph by the words necessary to get rid of that line spillover, and you eliminated one of the lines you need. Than look for the next shortest paragraph spillover, and repeat until the spillover page is gone.

    In MS Word, I find it helpful to zoom out until I see as many pages at once as I can. The short spillover chapters are relatively apparent, and I can zoom in and trim them for the biggest page count payoff for the fewest words deleted. I reduced my WIP from 805 pages to 798, but I only had to get rid of less that 1000 or so words out of 243K, less than one half of one percent. (Yes, I know that is long WIP! My editor is comfortable with it.). And it only took an hour or so.

    What do you expect? I am an engineer, and math is in my blood!
    peachalulu likes this.

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