I just went back and kicked 550 words out of DEATHTRAP'S Chapter 6. From 1,779 to 1,228 words. Actually, once I got into the mind set that I was removing ugly fat, it wasn't too much of a wrench. And the final product reads MUCH better. What I did was go through the chapter and highlight the few pieces of information that absolutely had to be conveyed to the reader at that point in time. Then I went back to see what could easily go without changing the inclusion of that information. Often, I found whole chunks that could just be deleted, or that could be replaced with a short phrase. In the end the novel is probably going to run to 85,000 words.
A reward for NICE GIRLS DON'T BITE being in the running in the second phase of the Amazon Breakout Novel contest is that the 3 readers make brief comments. My comments are very interesting. Most of them have to do with the fact that the judges are looking for mainstream novels and don't have much respect for plot-driven genre efforts. However, beside that issue, they still said that my pacing was slow and my writing was still "writerish." So.... work for the future. I am always happy to get critical comments; they point the way to improvement. Thanks for reading. Joan Sween.