Thursday, January 3, 2008

Great Expectations

I had the best of intentions this week. I would edit, write a couple of blogs for this week, clean my house, yadda yadda. None of this has come to pass. Instead of a fresh burst of New Year energy, I seem to have found inertia. I remember this happening last year. I finally seem to have crawled into motion and begun editing again.

Okay, I've been asked what the verdict was for my NaNo outline. Truthfully, I loved it. I know I'm supposed to find it confining, but I can't help it. I love a good outline.

And I finished the novel. 93K and some change which is perfect for me. Not so long that I can't add to it in rewrites or so short that I'm afraid to whack scenes that just don't do it for me.
I've been editing heavily and it makes me feel like the Godfather. I shamlessly kill my darlings--both characters and scenes--with the cold heart Don Corleone.

I look back to editing my first book and have to laugh at the amount of angst it caused me to delete scenes and lose characters. Now I read a scene, realize it's garbage, and simply hit delete and rewrite it. I don't save endless copies of my book in every revision phase. I just keep my current version (with appropriate back ups).

If the scene works but simply doesn't belong, I might save it in a folder that I call snippets for further use. If it doesn't work or there is no chance I'll ever want it again, I rub it out with savage glee.

Die! Die! Die!

Goodness but I've become ruthless. Good thing I write mysteries.


Arachne Jericho said...

That's a perfect kitteh :D

I feel like weedwhacking large parts of my NaNoWriMo work. Most of it seems to be relegated to "snippets I can use the next time I attempt my Great American Novel".

I keep quite a few backups of various versions, because I'm too lazy to delete them (Scrivener allows you to instantly save a backup zip of your project with a date timestamp as part of the name. You can build up huge amounts of backups without worrying at all).

I've gotten better at killing my darklings. I force my web serial to 500 words a pop, maybe 5 words wiggle room over the limit, because this means I kill as many meaningless bits as possible, all the more to pack the important stuff in.

Fixing a word count seems to help me a lot in that regard. It's amazing, how much stuff one can cut out.

Midnight Muse said...

I look back on that mega drek I'm posting on my blog from ages ago, and laugh. Then shake a little. Just think of the MASSIVE amounts I could and should have cut from that booger.

I don't write like that anymore. I edit and cut and I'm my worst critic. I'll agonize over sentences sometimes, which is silly, because then I remember that simpler is better, let out a happy sigh and continue forward.

I love a New Year. I love things starting over, like hitting the Reset button. And I'm in love with my latest novel, though I'll be ruthless when necessary and cut like a hedge trimmer in 4th gear when the time comes.

Ed Pahule said...

I write and archive a little differently. Each draft gets a new number and I save all my old versions. I currently have something like 9 old versions of my novel. Because I never know when something important might have gotten snipped in the editing process. Maybe a character's nose or a scene describing something really cool that I could use somewhere else. *shrugs*

I'm not much of a deleter though. My stories end up very short and I have to ADD tons to make it reach novel status.

Mary B said...

Concise is a good thing Ed. I used to write huge bloated novels and then agonize over each word and cut. Gack! My editing is much more efficient now that I'm not as attached to my darlings.

BTW Muse, that novel isn't drek! I agree that it could benefit from a diet and huge cuts, but it isn't drek! I'm enjoying it and you had better not stop posting chapters or I'll have to hunt you down ala Misery. :D

Midnight Muse said...

Oh no worries, I'll keep putting them up at the very least once a week, until it's all done. I made do silly things now and again, but I never stop partway through :D

And I do love the story itself, it's just the writing that makes me woozy!

Barrie said...

Like you, I love to write with an outline next to me. Or, you know, somewhere on the hard drive. ;) And I'm finding it easier and easier to delete. Practice, I guess. Good luck with your editing!