And it's about time. My fourth draft took a lot longer (3 1/2 months) than my third draft (3 weeks), but I made a lot of changes (although the read aloud I intended to finish with turned into a silent speed-read). STAR SWANS AND SARKI went from somewhere around 96,000 words to 89,490 words.
This is the first draft that I've finished with fewer words than I started it with. I'm shedding information that I needed to know to write the story, but has become obvious or otherwise unnecessary. And I'm finding that as I take out the clutter, my story becomes more and more like the original version - the one I fell in love with and tried to capture with my first (messy) draft. I'm not sure why I'm taking such a roundabout way to get there . . . actually, I do. I had to get to know my characters and their backgrounds. Have you ever experienced something similar?