Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Get Out Of My Novel!

I've been editing like crazy, but it's starting to pay off. I'm really excited because I've only got around fifteen more chapters to edit. And even though that sounds like a lot, my chapters are pretty short.

I've noticed that I've got a ton of scene's that are there just for the sake of being there. Sadly, a lot of times they are scenes that I really like. Scenes that have tons of awesome descriptive language but don't move the story along at all.

Before I start editing a scene, I'll read through it as it is. After reading it, I'll ask myself, 'what's the point I'm trying to get across here?' And If I get that point across someplace else already, or there really isn't a point, I just delete it. I've found parts where my MC is walking through a hallway getting to her room from someplace else. And when the point of my scenes are just to show that my MC is going somewhere... well that's not so great.

So what do I do? Tell those scenes to "get the heck out of my novel!"

I guess I've kind of come to enjoy being able to delete things out of my story, because I've got enough words to edit already. So when the entire scene can be taken out, I'm just thankful I don't have to go through it! My favorite part about writing a story is the actual writing part of it. The editing is fun, but I think it takes waay too long.

So the lesson I've learned? Don't keep scenes that are there just for the sake of being there. It seems obvious, but sometimes it's hard to pick them out.

Anyway, I've got to start on my school work now so I can be done with it sooner so I can edit more.

Do you guys have any great editing tips?



prerna pickett said...

I had several of those scenes! Good thing you noticed them now rather than later.

Kelley said...

Great advice. I need to use

Michael Offutt, Expert Critic said...

Sooner or later we all have to make the tough choices and cut cut cut. If your inner voice is telling you to discard certain scenes, you need to listen.

C D Meetens said...

I remember going through my WIP, and striking through rather a lot with a red pen, after deciding I'd already said something elsewhere.

One thing I learnt was to do with characters. Do all your characters add something to the plot? Or could one character's function actually be served better by another? That's something I ask myself when editing, and I removed a character from my story (despite really liking him, which was a pain), because another character served the same purpose, and could do everything I needed.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I edit as I write so I don't have as much of that at the end. I know some people keep lists of words that they check w/ the 'find' function on word to make sure they don't have them in their stories. Keep editing!

Aldrea Alien said...

It is always the ones we like the most that shouldn't be there. Comes with the territory. I removed the first chapter of one novel, but that was near the beginning of writing the story. I think I would’ve screamed had that been during an edit. The relevant information I would’ve needed to transfer ... -_-
And yup, editing has to be the longest process of writing.
Now, if you don’t include the rewrites (and the rewrite of the rewrite) as actual writing, then I’ve been editing the same novel for ... fourteen years. It’s still unpublished AND I still tweak it every now and then.
I’ve yet to tackle its sequel. So much changed in the first (and my skills have grown so much since then) that I’ve not yet acquired the stomach for it.

But far from removing and deleting the scenes entirely, I tend to keep the pieces in a separate file, just in case a particular phrase/thought/whatever could be tweaked for later usage. That first chapter got ripped to teeny info-soaked shreds which I slipped into chapters two and four.
If you haven't already, may I suggest you keep what you wrote? You never know, one might even become a springboard for another a brand new story.

Guess that makes my rule: keep obsolete scenes, just not in the story. ^_^ But then, I've a strange way of editing. Things get tightened, yet the stories always get longer.
Not sure what's up with that.

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