Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cut, cut, cut

I've spent the last two weeks overhauling a MS I wasn't sure I ever wanted to see again.
You know how it goes, you write then edit, edit, edit, edit, edit and then you can't see the project anymore because your mind is all wrapped up in the technicalities. It's wrapped so tight that the idea of going through it - just one more time - makes you want to cry.

That's where I was. And hand-in-hand with what I'll call "Editing Blindness" where you no longer see the faults, comes despair ushered forth by mindless whispering.
"It will take too much work to get this ready for publication."
"It would be easier to start on something new."
"It's probably not good enough to publish, I should just set it aside."

Well, I did set it aside. Not because I wanted to give up on it, but because I needed a break.

Kind of like when you've just started in an intense relationship with a person you think is "the one." Three months into it, you just need air.

So you break it off.

A month later, you bump into that guy/girl and realize they are amazing. You chat, decide to give it just one more date. That one date leads to another and another. Your cautious. No jumping into the deep end here. A chapter at a time you see the faults, you decide if you can live with them or not. In the end, you see why you loved this MS and it will always hold a special place in your heart; but it's time to send it off to someone new -

One of the changes that can be so hard is cutting. Cutting scenes, cutting characters, and just plain cutting words that were so hard to come up with in the first place made me shake. But I made myself do it because I had two criteria:
1) does the scene accomplish anything?
2) is this character a stand alone or can he/she be combined with someone else?

It's harsh because sometimes the answer to number 1 was no and sometimes the answer to number 2 was yes and I had to say farewell.

Is it worth it? Yes. In the end, my MS is much better off without the extra scenes/players/words. Have you ever had to cut something that hurt?

1 comment:

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

I've had whole books I've had to *cut* - meaning Put In a Drawer!). But I recently pulled one out from 8 years ago that I've always loved and am finally rewriting it. We'll see what happens . . . :-)