Recently one of my very dear friends plied me with questions about writing. She's looking at finally jumping into writing and is just learning all the weird stuff.
I mentioned editors and having to lose lots of words.
Most of those come from my developmental editor--one problem with being a pantser is a tendency to go wandering off track. The detour makes sense at the time, but then another bright and shiny plot direction takes over and I have a lovely dead-end. Hanging in the middle of the book. (Or more- my rough drafts often look like suburban neighborhoods with a cul-de-sac every few miles ;))
My wonderful, awesome, editor points out those , "Umm, WTF?" moments ( my words, not her's ;)). She doesn't tell me to remove things per se, just points out where I have gotten lost in some strange side alley and that it's really not helping the book. I adore her for it.
So I end up often slicing a fair amount of words after I get edits back from her. My new writer friend's point was--what if you really like those words. A VERY valid question.
However, when you're creating something, a novel, novella, short story, whatever, you have to look at the big picture. And anything that makes the big picture stronger, needs to be followed through. Obviously a big part of this process is having folks you trust and who understand your voice and story. But it's also up to the author to be willing to let go a few awesome words (or a few thousand *cough*) to make the work stronger.
I still save my larger cut sections, just to make my inner rough draft writer feel better that I can get them back if needed.
I've been writing a LONG time, and I've never needed them. But ya never know.
So yeah, losing those hard fought for words can hurt, but if they make your remaining words better-- ya need to do it!
I have a tendency to write long. The other week, I wrote a story that wended at 6500 words and I had to look at parts and say, "Is that really pertinent to this story, or did I just want it to be in there?" It's down under 6K now. It hurts, but it's for the better!ReplyDelete
Me too- I over-write and under write at the same time (different spots ;)). And there are sometimes losing HURTS! But it helps when you look back and say, "yeah- that is better" :). Thanks for coming by!Delete
Marie- at day-job can't log into blogger
I can be wordy, too. The saying is true, sometimes you've got to be willing to kill your darlings in order to make the work better. It can feel like wholesale slaughter as your darlings scurry about pleading for mercy, telling you how important they are to the story, reminding you how much you love them, but you have to ignore them and just do it.ReplyDelete
Good points all, Marie
Thanks! Although now I have an image of you running around your house with a hatchet, yelling, "here words, come out to plaaaaaaayyy".Delete
I still have sections in my story that whisper to me they just might not belong in that story and that they should be cut out. Sometimes I'm able to ignore them, but most of the time they win out in the end.ReplyDelete
Sometimes we have to pull them out---but I think our stories ended up being strong because we wrote them, even if we eventually removed them ;).Delete