I had completed my novel in about six months, which I thought was pretty good. This is considering I also work 3 long a days a week as a physical therapist and director of my clinic and also care for (and shuttle all over the universe) my two children.
What I didn't know at the time, was that the novel I completed was the length of TWO full novels- plus some! At 240,000 words, my dear friend who had inspired me to write as I followed her footsteps, let me in on the fact that a first novel should be 80-100K words. Well, at least I had a starting point...
Michelle was kind enough to team up with such a newbie as myself and we began a small group editing team. She had completed one novel and had started another. Her first was on hold and she had not made headway with query submissions, so she had me begin edits and critiques of it, while she worked on mine as well.
The main issue became: can we cut enough words to make the story into one novel? Or do I need to cut it in half and make it two novels... and is there a good place to stop the story to allow that to happen? Could it be a triology? When you write for months with your vision of this ONE complete story, it is very hard to let go. I insisted it should be kept as one full story. However, there was no way I could cut out literally more than half the book to shorten it enough. That would be impossible. Yes, there were definitely many scenes that were cut (like a knife to the heart everytime you have to let one of your babies go). Some are scenes you love- just a great dialogue banter, or a fun adjunct to the story... but when you've got to cut words and streamline the plot, you wind up slowly letting some of your favorites go. Sigh. But... no where near enough to get it close to 100K.
When we had completed edits months later, we had the novel down to 190,000. It would be a perfect amount to split into two novels. I had to come to terms that my story was actually meant to be told as a two part series.