I was perusing Stephen King's semi-autobiography, On Writing A Memoir of the Craft and came across a lesson in the art of fine tuning a first draft. I had never really thought about it before, but King aptly puts that his success to writing a second draft was due to a formula he had heard.
The Second Draft Formula is essentially this:
1st Draft - 10% = 2nd Draft
It's a basic formula, but one that serves it's purpose very well. For the case of Gods From the Machine, I realized that through my several drafts there was quite a bit of convolution and repetition, making a story bulky and way too informative. The best way of sending a clear message is to cut all the excess fat and slim it down to perfection, which is what I did and the final outcome is today. That being said, a 45,000 word count of a first draft could stand to be cut down roughly 40,000 with the Second Draft Formula. If you can't cut down ten percent without conserving the message, then you're obviously not working hard enough. Like with most things, the simpler the better!