well, aparently when my agent took the time to check the word count on the fourth draft of Exile he about choked to death. So for now, he wants me to stop working on it while he goes through it and marks out parts he wants me to cut. Then we'll probably argue about which parts he's marked are important or not, and the story will get chopped. Instead of working on a fifth draft of Exile he's asked me to start on finishing up Spires of Infinity until he gets back to me, and "you'd sure as hell better not inflate it to three times the size this time!!!"
Unfortunately, the thing about Exile and the gigantic word count is that it NEEDED all of that. It's as long as it needs to be to tell the whole story. It was a much bigger and longer story than I gave it credit for in the beginning. I suggested splitting it into two volumes, and I know a perfect place to do it at. My agent said he'd get back to me on that idea after he goes through and sees what he thinks can be done to chop it down to size. In the end we might end up doing both, cutting it down a bit AND splitting it into two volumes. Another thing he suggested was maybe toning down some of the naughty parts and trying to sell it as a young adult book rather than epic fantasy. I'm ok with that, I guess.
And I'm totally ok with switching projects too, because Spires was the story I wanted to work on when my agent strongly suggested Exile. And where Exile was a 300k word story told in 100k words in the first draft, Spires was a 150k word story told in 150k words. It was far better planned out and needs very little actual work to complete it. In fact, I did so well in planning it out and writing the first draft that i may actually be able to finish this one completely in only three drafts. we'll see.
Anyway, I have a list of things that I made while reading through Spires whilst sick that need to be worked on. Mostly it's little things like descriptions of people/places/things, some bad grammar, adding a little more personality to the characters, a few small continuity issues, and putting the pop culture references down a notch or three.
What I was trying to do with this story was create a universe in which a story could be told in several different genres, while still tying them in to a character who is from present day earth, and I relied really heavily on the pop culture stuff so that you don't forget who he is and where he came from amidst all of the jumping around to sci-fi, fantasy, western, post-apocalyptic, and so on, but while doing my read through i realized that it didn't really need quite that much, and it started to get a little annoying and take away from the rest of the story. I'm still going to keep some of it, because there were a few really good jokes in it, but a lot of it is going to get toned down or removed completely.