Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Editing is Murder...

"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile." - Robert Cormier

First off, go check out the cover for Syl's upcoming book -- it's great!

So... I'm still working through my Camilla novel and have hit my first big bump. It's a small thing, really, but it's one of those "kill your babies" scenes. The bit I want to remove is nothing terribly important and it falls to the wayside as the book progresses. I thought about it and thought about it and decided it doesn't contribute enough of anything to keep it in there.

But two of my favorite scenes are directly related to it. And I don't want to let them go...

I've spent the last couple of days (aside from that pesky time in the ER) trying to figure out a way to get rid of that thing and still keep the scenes. I think it can be done, but was it worth the lost time?

The worst part is that I'm sure this will happen again. And again. And it's hard to let go of something you've worked so hard on...

Kill your babies.

Maybe I should re-read "On Writing" again and get inspired.

Anyone have any great ideas on editing? How do you do it? My editors at The Wild Rose Press typically send me 2 - 3 edits on my stories. The first is mostly just grammar (and the "rules" like passive voice and show don't tell) and tightening up the writing. The second is all about content and more tightening. The third is usually pretty minimal, just a couple last comments.

I kind of like that idea, except I can't get past content, even the first time through. It is how I do crits for my writing friends, though. I'll go through once and catch all the little grammatical things first, and then go back and harp on plot inconsistencies and such. But for my own stuff? That's tough to do.

So, 'fess up -- how do you do your editing? I need all the help I can get!


anno said...

I take my cue from 101 Dalmations: "Melody first, my dear. And then the lyrics."

Gotta get the story straight before paying too much attention to mechanics. I know I'll probably add typos as I edit content, so checking for nits is always my last step. (If I notice a typo before I get to that step, though, it's fair game.)

Charity said...

I’m with Anno. I know a fair number of writers who do edit for typos and grammar first, the rationale, these are the building blocks of writing. That’s true, up to a point. I still think taking the big picture and working your way down is the best way to go.

Look at theme, at what you want to accomplish, what the “ideal” of this book is. Positive visualization. If you don’t know what the overall story is supposed to be, how do you know what to leave in, what to cut, and what to add?

In other words, love the story, not the scene.

The best part of the Maass workbook for me was at the end of it, I had a plan for revision. Are you using it for Camilla? You know, I’m revising TBC. If you want to brainstorm in MTMOM again, I’m game.