Thursday, June 30, 2011

Revision thoughts

After days of staying stuck on some technical aspects, I've finally gotten back on track with my revisions. I'm now past a quarter of the way through. So I'm pretty thrilled with my progress. 

Still, having an Internal Editor who is alive and well can have its side effects. 

I almost decided to cut out two of my favorite supporting characters. Because they're supporting characters that only really find their places in Book two. But as I was about to write down the memo, I realized that I couldn't get rid of them. Because introducing them in Book two will feel wrong in the story that I will want to tell. So they stay. 

On the other hand, I realized that I'll have to emphasize the stakes a little more on one of my story line so that I can get the Epic back into my Epic Fantasy. So there will be some serious changes later on in the book. Very close to where I am right now. This change is one I embrace, though. One I look forward to. 

Still, those thoughts above reminded me of something that is becoming increasingly scary to me: Killing my babies. There might still come a point where I will have to cut out characters and scenes. I've already cut some, but none of them have been particularly important to me. But I know that the day will come that there will be a scene that I love that will have to go.

And that gives me the jitters.

So... who else is revising? How do you decide what goes and what stage? What do you do when you have to cut something you love?


22 comments:

Crystal Collier said...

Lately my pet peeve has been stories that include unnecessary scenes. (And I'm very guilty.)

Been writing a synopsis for one story and struggling to get it under 5 pages. It's curious how much insight that gives. I mean, one section of 25 pages can be sum up in 3 sentences, and others take 3 paragraphs. Hm. More revisions? I think so.

Neil Vogler said...

You have to be brutal. If you suspect something drags, then it almost certainly does. Cut it, save the scene in a "supplementary material" folder so it can be mined for ideas later on, move on and don't mourn it.

You have to be brutal. And then a true editor comes along and shows you what brutal *really* means.

shelly said...

Shelly here is revising Secondhand Shoes. Rewrote chapter one. Made it tighter. http://www.seconhadshoesnovel.blogspot.com

Also, gave my editor the first 20 chapters that have been critiqued with my critters. So, I've gotten chapters 1 thru 10 back while I'm going through edits of future chapters with the critters. Talk about work. But I'm excited b/c I can now see the forest thru the trees.

Matthew MacNish said...

It's very tough to know what to cut and what to keep. I need to lose so much word count that I have to be very conservative with what I keep.

Tony Benson said...

I always mean to keep a 'offcuts' folder with bits I liked but had to cut out, but I haven't started one yet. Generally when I cut something out I just delete it from the revision.

Deciding what to cut, though, can be difficult. Crit feedback helps with that. It's always good to get other peoples' opinions.

rcexam2007 said...

Just the thought of tackling writing a book gives me the jitters! That is way out of my league! Continued best wishes on your project! rcj

Michael Offutt said...

I'm revising my book at the moment but don't anticipate having to cut anything. If you need someone to bounce ideas off of I'm your man, Misha. I've read a lot of epic fantasy so I can tell you if something is "epic".

Jessica R. Patch said...

I'm revising. I try to look at each scene and if it doesn't move the plot forward, I cut it. It pains me at times, but I tell myself I can include it as bonus material when it's published! LOL

I didn't cut any characters, but I did cut 3 POV's because they were unneccessary and I could tell it from the MCs point of views and still have the same effect, while keeping the reader out of too many heads.

Good luck revising! Try not to pull your hair out. :)

Connie said...

Each novel I've written has it's own file for my darlings that were cut. That way I tell myself that they aren't really "gone." Plus, I can always go back and get them if I need them. But I never have.

The Golden Eagle said...

If I have to cut a scene, I usually open a new document and paste it there for safekeeping. I don't often go back and use it again, but if I want to refer to an idea I used in the original, it's helpful to have it.

NiaRaie said...

It seems like the whole world is revising, but I'm actually not. I just started a new WIP. How I decide what goes is by asking "Can this scene be summarized?" "Would the store die without it?" It's hard, but cutting often helps.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've never cut characters, but when I've done several passes of revisions, I start noting the scenes that don't really mean anything to the plot - and out they go.

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Beverly Diehl said...

Right now, I am editing as I got along, because I have had ideas about the characters that I needed to work into earlier in the book. Ugh!

I've also been able to go back to passages and realize they are/were WAY too long and that I don't need to give a blow by blow, fart by fart description of what everybody is doing.

Amy said...

Great post, glad the revisions are going well! Revising is hard for me, I never like to change or cut things, even if they need them. :)

Rebecca Bradley said...

One thing that comes to mind to maybe ease the fear is instead of a full on deletion with no return, move the no longer required parts and keep them in a separate document so you can again assess them later and confirm you made the right decision and your book is better for it.

Jeanmarie Anaya said...

Well...I'm in the middle of rewrite hell. Blech. But I have to admit that I've been feeling really good about all of the cutting I've been doing. It feels good to purge a scene (or a character) when it has otherwise been like a clunky puzzle piece that just won't "fit" properly, know what I mean? Of course, the actual act of clicking "CUT" hurts me all the way to my bones. LOL But the aftereffects are worth it.

Good luck!

Steph Schmidt said...

Revising here! I'm ignoring the lemon in my eye effect of cutting away my precious prose by writing on a new project. Makes for a doozy of a headache when I voice hop.

Maria Zannini said...

I work off an outline so I usually know what happens when. As for deleted scenes, I keep them in a morgue file.

Patricia Lynne said...

I have yet to cut any characters I put in a story while revising. Makes me feel kind of lucky. I'm sure it will happen one day and I'll mourn the character.

LynNerd said...

Once I'm invested in my characters, it's too hard to get rid of them. Deleting unnecessary scenes is much easier to do. I love Maria's term, that she keeps deleted scenes in a morgue file! Haha!

Lynda R Young said...

yep, I'm revising too and it's driving me nutso. Hehehe.