To cut or not to cut? And what to cut? This is the dilemma of the editing process. I knew when I started that I had a lot of cutting ahead of me and I've been doing just that -- eliminating whole chapters and many, many paragraphs, excess words, repetitions, excessive descriptions and anything at all that seems to slow down the pace. Still, I am only half way through the novel and I am already way too many pages over the required amount. Part of this is because I am using a different font, double spacing instead of 1 1/2 spaces and dropping chapter beginnings down 1/3 of a page.
The dilemma is in trying not to cut parts that are important to the story. Some places I have left intact and will have another go-through once I'm finished this first round. Then I intend to have other eyes peruse the work to see what they suggest. Trouble is, I don't want to chop too much and spoil the story line. I think historical novels need to be fairly meaty and I did a thorough job of research locations and developing characters that are realistic and believable. So I don't want to interfere too much with this.
There have been moments when I felt a bit discouraged and wondered if the novel is as good as I thought it was. But that is probably something all of us go through. Then again, there are passages that are just brilliant and I can hardly even remember writing them. Of course, those are the ones that definitely stay untouched.
I'd love to hear from other novel writers about what they've gone through in regards to the final editing of their manuscripts. I have Elizabeth Lyon's good book "Manuscript Makeover" which has been most helpful. But about now I need someone to cheer me on!