Thursday, May 15, 2008


Maven Lacey KayeOver the weekend, I cut 35 pages out of the first 87 pages of my novel. I don't miss them. It's not news to any of us for me to say time creates distance and distance makes us more objective, but wow...I've never seen it with such clarity before.

I put this book down half a year ago, maybe longer. Big.Difference. Yesterday's post made it really clear to me how different my writing is now. I reread my sentences three times before I could do it without cracking up. WHAT was I thinking?

I found tons -- tons -- of extra words. Not news. Beta readers and contest judges have been telling me that for years. Why couldn't I see them?

I wish I had something hugely helpful to post, but instead, per Maven Carrie's post this week, I will have to satisfy myself with being She Whom Others Commiserate With. Next time someone tells you "too much introspection" or "do you think you could say that in any more words??", you'll think of me.

The good news is, it's not a permanent disease. YOU CAN FIX YOUR WRITING! Just prescribe yourself some time off and maybe a glass of wine. And don't forget the surgical tools...chances are, when you look at your novel again in the future, there will be a lesion or two that has to come out.

YOUR TURN: Share a paragraph you're really proud of (or something from a book you read that blew you away). Does it meet Maven Darcy's AID balance: Action, Introspection, Dialogue? Deb Dixon's GMC: Goal, Motivation, Conflict? Cherry Adair's WTFITPOTS?: What the %&*# is the point of this scene?


Bill Clark said...

OK, I'll share three sentences from the book I'm presently reading, A Nail Through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan:

Then she says, in Thai, "Life is a gift. If we don't live it well, we are being ungrateful. And we have to love the ones who journey with us."

I wish I'd written those lines, in Thai or English or any language whatsoever.

Angie Fox said...

This is a great blog topic, because it's so true. Time and distance are invaluable when it comes to tightening a book.

Heck, I just turned in a manuscript a few weeks ago, and afterward my editor apologized, saying we probably won't move into edits right away. That's great! I'll have a much better perspective at the end of the summer than I will now. I don't know about the rest of you, but my brain is usually a bit fuzzy after typing The End.

Angie Fox said...

Oh and here's a snippet from The Accidental Demon Slayer. It's from the scene where the protagonist, Lizzie, meets her biker witch grandmother for the first time:

“Well, Lizzie, the thing is…” She paused to find the right words to say whatever it was I was sure I didn’t want to hear. She cleared her throat. “Our coven’s on the run.”

Oh lordy. “You think you’re a witch?”

“Am a witch, darlin’. So was your mother. And if I wasn’t such a damned good witch, all hell wouldn’t be after us. I don’t have time to spell it out for you right now, but let me ask: You own any leather chaps?”

Yeah, hanging right next to my white capri pants. “No!”

“Well, that bites,” she said. “Life on the road can chafe your thighs.”

Jackie Barbosa said...

Love your snippet, Angie. Must. Buy. Your. Book.

Time and distance are both fabulous things. As for wordiness, I'm always amazed when I get my first round of edits back and my editor has managed to find several hundred completely superfluous words in the manuscript I've already pared and pared to its essence. /Sigh

Here's my snippet, from Wickedly Ever After:

Indignation swelled her throat. “I most certainly would—” She broke off as the full import of his presence at last registered on her befuddled brain. “How did you know I would be here?”

“In your family’s coach, you mean? I confess it did not occur to me you might be so bold as to misappropriate another family’s carriage for the ride to Hardwyck House.” He leaned forward until his warmth radiated through her flimsy silk gown and straight to her skin. “Would you have gone that far to see me tonight, sweet Erato?”

Eleanor pressed back against the well-worn seat in an attempt to mitigate the unsettling effects of his nearness. The rocky, rumbling timbre of his voice stirred the same primitive twinge in the depths of her belly as his kiss had done, a sensation that interfered with both rational thought and justifiable irritation.

Just what did he mean by calling her Erato, muse of lyric and love poetry? How utterly absurd!

And terribly charming…

Manuscript Mavens

Manuscript Mavens