Saturday, June 9, 2012

Trimming the Fat

Oh, man.  You guys, I am SO EXCITED.  I read this post from Ms. Mandy Hubbard, and even though I am not a big YA person, and even though I am especially not a big "yet another pretty white girl on the cover" person, I want to read that book so bad.  I don't even know what the plot is; just the story of how it came to be is enough to sell me on it. 

If I can stand on that point for just a second: I'm just this year dipping my toes into the World-Wide Writers' Web, but so far, it feels like the default business model is "write something, peter out, trunk it, write something else, get bored, trunk it, write something else, revise it, revise it, trunk it, write something else..."  I haven't exactly done that - even though I have repeatedly deleted EVERYTHING except for a couple of character names and traits, it's always felt like reworking the same story to me - and it's surprisingly heartening to read about somebody else who did that and ended up with a stellar, first-rate work of fiction.

Anyway, she put in her time and got there.  I gotta get there too.  So here's this week's progress, illustrated by what I will call the Delete-o-Meter:

This round, the goal is to revise according to the feedback I've gotten from my readers, and also to shrink the manuscript by at least 15%.  I've revised 4 out of the 16 chapters (I have long chapters, okay - shut up!), and obliterated over 5,000 words.  I am so dang proud of that.

Maybe I'm not doing it right, because although there have been moments of "dang, that was one pretty paragraph," it's not been blood/sweat/tears at any point.  It always amazes me, how I will finish a draft and INVARIABLY feel like it's the most perfect, untouchable thing ever, and pull my hair at the very prospect of mangling it at someone else's behest.  Six months down the road, however, I'm pink-slipping paragraphs and pages and scenes like an Enron executive. 

I suppose it's all in the vision, huh?  You will snarl and snap and cling to your masterpiece, but as soon as you can visualize its superior form, you're mangling it in the bathtub with calm, fanatical precision.

Well, I hope you are, anyway.  I'll feel awkward if I'm the only one.

One pound of flesh, no more, no less.  No cartilage, no bone, but only flesh.

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