Well, I THOUGHT I finished my novel. I thought I was moving into the editing stage. Instead, it feels like I am making alterations. It is kind of like taking an old coat made of thick velvet and trimming and changing pieces around to create an elegant evening gown.
First, I turned the "Eddie" backstory in Chapter 3 into a prologue. One of my new readers (Others I have not heard from, yet.) said she did not like it. The prologue version was her first introduction to the novel. She (a) had trouble grasping Cy and Marty as the main characters, and (b) had trouble wondering who Eddie was and how he fit in the story.
Part of the reason for the prologue was to keep the reader wondering about Eddie and Andrea. But, even though they show up again in the book, this particular story is not mostly about them. Based on that, I decided to put the book back the way I had it and introduce Marty and Cy first. They are the ones for whom I want the reader to develop the strongest emotional attachment.
So, I took out the Green Willow story and knocked my book from 148,004 words down to 128,577. Take out the Eddie backstory and add the prologue and a new chapter with Green Corn, and I was back up to 135,337. Not doing well on cutting that novel down to its goal of 110,000-120,000 words. Umm-umm! However, by going through and editing, I have knocked it down to a marvelous 133,580 words.
I think I can do some serious word reduction on the transition chapter between Chimney Rocks and Smithburg Station. Plus, one of my readers strongly hinted that (speaking of dress-making) while all the information on sewing Marty's new pre-Civil War era clothing was interesting to her, it was a bit much. I need to be not so revealing on the clothing, so to speak. That will cut more words.
I am going to get this word count down to where, if this novel could be compared to an evening gown, it will cling in all the right flattering places rather than hang like a gunny sack.