Friday, February 10, 2017

Be brutal in self-editing

I am into the second phase of my second draft, which is a time when I get honest and sincere. Early versions have the right story line, characters, and setting. There also are a lot of wasted words, and story and character elements that need sharpening.

My writing time this morning brought out the scalpel-wielding editor in me. My manuscript was too long (more than 98,000 words), and it needed pruning. But where? Now that I am in my third overall trip through the story, it is easier to see. How many times do I put "that" and it is unneeded? How many dangling parts of dialogue do I include? How many times do I put "I believe" or "I feel" when a punchier sentence is necessary, and those snippets are removed? Oh, I am seeing all these errors, and dealing them a quick death.

I made one major change in story structure. I had an important secondary character and resulting events buried too deep. I moved them up several chapters. This results in a better reading experience.

I take small sections of the manuscript every day and refine them. I will go through my work one more time before I will send it to my next set of beta readers. I want to have a tight, coherent novel to deliver. I will have my scalpel handy.