"I just hate how I 'come off as' as a debut writer with a super high WC, even when I'm doing a genre that has higher WC. I don't like agents to think of me as ignorant or judge my story because it is a longer work. And I hate that they just reject it on the spot without even reading sample pages or trying to have a discussion surrounding it." - Nicole Evans, fantasy & scifi authorCan you relate? Then this post is for you.
Thing is, you believe that your high word count is warranted. And maybe it is! But I saw a lot of submissions during P2P with word counts over 100K (one was even over 200K), and I came to see some patterns. Here are four factors that might be driving your word count up unnecessarily and how to check for them.
1. Starting in the wrong place.
Hands down, this is the most common issue I've seen in debut novels. Most of them start too soon, in a scene that lacks goals or stakes and isn't close enough to the catalyst that's going to make the MC(s) take their first steps on that road leading to the primary conflict, and thus adding unnecessary length to the book. I wrote "Your first five pages" to help with this one.
2. Too much backstory and/or world building unrelated to what's happening in the scene.
I won't go so far as to say that you should only include details that are necessary to understanding the scene at hand - there are definitely times when a well-placed sentence or two of backstory sets up something important without trying readers' patience - but it's quite common for authors to front-load their books with too much information under the mistaken assumption that readers actually need it all.