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Friday, July 6, 2012

The Joys of Cutting

Just reset my WIP word count and I'm pleased to announce I've lost 4K words. Don't worry. I plan to add about 80K more, so you'll have plenty to read when I'm done. "Telling" got cut. Way too much telling.

I discovered it's very easy to cut things if, instead of just "deleting," I move them to a "future events" file. I trick my brain into thinking I'll use them somewhere else, and then I don't mind removing them from where they are. Odds are, I'll never use any of it in its entirety, but don't tell my brain, OK? This is working.

Took two tries to get started writing last night, but the second was moderately successful. I'm back at the part where Rhami is going two directions at once (pg 38 - Oi) and I'm pushing past it. My first draft had them arrive way too soon (over-sight) and consequently, I'll have to rearrange a bit to get the timeline back in sync. It's wibbly-wobbly, so shouldn't present too much of a problem.

I'm going to have to write a TUTAW (The Ugly Truth About Writing) about the hard work involved in planning. I sort of did such a post a month ago, but I have more to say. Or maybe just more organized things to say.

Speaking of organized...

We Splashdown folks are working on a how-to book (seriously hoping that's not a secret) and I'm contributing a chapter. Talk about pressure. Allow me to explain.

Teaching requires mastery. Lots of teachers don't know this, which is why America's education system is in the mess it's in.

I'm no master at writing. At best, I'm an idiot savant. Mostly an idiot with flashes of brilliance. That doesn't mean I have the foggiest notion how to transmit those momentary flashes into something concrete and replicable (Is that a word? Spell check offered it). Yet, I'm asked to comment on a topic with enough authority to justify purchase by a student of writing. Pressure indeed.

It is reminiscent of my college English days, except this time, I understand what the teacher wants from me.

TT: Poor Mrs. Warren. I really had no idea, dear lady, and you tried so hard to explain. It's not your fault. My brain was saturated with the arrogance of youth, frozen yogurt and the dazzling novelty of social interaction. You couldn't have gotten through with hot fudge and pecans. I'm very sorry.

I've written the first draft of that how-to chapter. My deadline was last Saturday, but we all got a slight extension, so I'll be fiddling with it over the weekend. I suspect at some point, we'll play Mad-Hatter's-Tea-Party for editing purposes and I'll be rewriting as well as editing for others. At least I hope so. Even I know I'm not ready for publication after two drafts.


  1. Just FYI--the title of this blog completely threw me. My mind went right to "cutting"--as in, the teen practice of cutting skin. It took me a moment to realize you meant cutting passages from you manuscript!

    Anyway, I'm glad you're discovering the joys of, well, at least transferring your darlings to another file if not killing them ;).

  2. That's a really good idea, just transferring the cut passages. I just make a fresh copy of my file for every draft, and amputate as needed, because I can always go back to the previous file if I decided I needed that scene after all. Usually I don't.

    Ever since I read this blog post, about how this chick figured out how to write 10k words a day, I've been trying out her techniques. The one about figuring out something exciting about every scene is absolutely life changing.


  3. Kat, you may be a little *too* involved in YA... Although, there is a certain euphoria that follows getting rid of passages that slow me down. Not nearly as much as getting rid of other people's passages, but, hey, I can't edit everyday.

    Kessie, I wrote my first book on the "when I'm bored, make something happen" principle. I can't believe the crap I've gotten for the end of chapter two because of that.

    Not sorry. Just sayin'.


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