June 21, 2011

Still plucking

I'm continuing with my latest edit of Xmas Carol. I swear, it's amazing -- this must be my 14th time through the book and I'm still finding things to cut.

The golden rule about deciding whether something belongs in your book is simple. If it doesn't further the plot, it doesn't belong in the book. So by now I should have axed all the chaff, it being so simple to spot, and all. Yet I continue to bump into these little nuggets -- maybe five lines or a paragraph -- that are not essential and, worse, are not connected to anything else in the story.

I scream "Aha!" and lunge at the offending bit, plucking it out of the book with a huge pair of virtual tweezers. Poof. It's gone. But I'm amazed to find these things in the book at this point in the process. How could I not have spotted those offending lines during my last 13 passes through the story? It almost freaks me out.

But I am seeing these things now and I'm tossing them out of the book. Soon, very soon, there will be only essential text in the book. But as I've said here before: phew! What a long process this is. First I had to learn how to write an interesting novel, and then I had to learn to edit like a pro.  
"When you see a need you cannot fill, you learn the skill and fill it." -- Keith O'Connor.
That's always been my motto. And it's a good thing too, or I might have gotten lost along the way with this "becoming a writer" thing. What can I say? I'm still learning. In fact, to be a writer is to learn. It's the way it is.


~jomal said...

Keith ... glad to see you're still thinking, still writing. I wrote to your email address. Hope to hear from you soon. Jomal.

writenow said...


So great to hear from you. I just emailed you a response. You'd like some of the posts here, you know. Why not read a few while you're passing through?