Rotations – back from copyediting

My sci-fi thriller Rotations has just come back from copyediting. Now I’ll be going through it changing, updating, deleting and, possibly, getting grumpy (as in “How dare she think I should delete that!”).

Right now I’m nearing the end of a round of edits on my next novel – The Room (more on that soon) – so in a couple of days I’ll put that aside and get stuck into Rotations and whip it into shape. At the moment looking at getting it published by Christmas.

Cutting words to meet limits

Over the weekend I’ve been working on a couple of science fiction stories, reworking and whittling them for their intended markets. Antipodean Science Fiction, which has published a couple of my stories already, has a tight limit – around 500 words (they have a little flexibility, but not much over 500). 365Tomorrows has taken one of my stories and their limit is 600. My two current stories are 650 and 570 words respectively.

There’s a good article by Ken Rand here on the Science Fiction Writers of America site, about straightforward ways of cutting ten percent from stories and articles. That’s a good start, though having read the article a while ago I notice that I’ve been doing some of these things automatically anyway.

After that the question becomes, what can I remove without having the whole story collapse into a shambles? Perhaps I could drop the mention of the poker game in the longer story? Well, that’s important for character. But how else could I show that aspect? Perhaps if I took Karl’s character out of the other story and just let it be between Bayliss and Angela it would tighten up a bit? It feels like they need a foil, but could that just be done through the situation?

Well, I’ll keep cutting and see where it gets. Otherwise, I might just re-write them from scratch and see how they will fit with one of sites with longer limits – 1000 words feels like a lot to play with when I’ve been shooting for 500.