When I completed my first novel, I was proud. Excited. Thrilled. Confident that it was perfect as-is.
I sent queries to serveral publishers and agents. When my manuscript was requested within a week from a major publisher, I was proud. Excited. Thrilled. Confident that the editor would see my novel as perfect, as-is.
When she replied to me a month later that she loved the story but the length was a problem and if I chose to edit it, she would reconsider it, I was not as proud, excited, thrilled or confident.
She wanted 30,000 words edited. Erased. Gone for good.
That's a 3 with four zeros after it.
That's a lot of words.
I was determined to do it. I was worried my story wouldn't survive the chop. When I finished the edit, I cut 32,000 words and my story improved immeasurably. Fast-paced. No extraneous anything to detract from the suspense or character-building. I grabbed the reader from page one and said, "Hang on, it's going to be an exhilarating ride."
I leared something valuable. Less is more. Don't take four paragraphs to say what can be shown in a sentence or two of dialogue. Don't belabor an emotional turning point with a character when you can convey the same thing using action. Get rid of "that" as much as possible. Knock off the "huffed, chortled, exclaimed etc." and stick with "said and asked". It improves the flow and is less distracting to the reader. Make sure your pages have a lot of white space. Only fans of Clancy or Kafka like to see four pages of solid, dense exposition.
Say volumes in eloquent, precise prose and trust your reader to follow you.
Action really does speak louder than "words".