WHY YOU HAVE TO CUT.
People write for many different reasons. To make sense of the world, to tell stories, to organize their thoughts more clearly, to communicate, to give information. And don’t we all know situations where we’ve blurted things out and later regretted it. And no matter how much wishing we do, we can never unsay those words.
But a writer is lucky because when we write we do have that chance to control what others see.
Yesterday I was editing the penultimate chapter of strand A and yes, the sentences, word choice, figures of speech, flow of plot and action seemed okay but this was the section bridging the climax and the conclusion and I knew it was dull, lacking that snap and sizzle needed to keep a reader engaged. It was also too long and everyone was simply being too nice. So I started mulling over what I could do.
This morning I woke up with the idea quite clear in my mind – I was going to cut the whole chapter as the story really didn’t need it. It was as if I’d passed a threshold, a Rubicon, in making such a drastic decision.
However when I gave the chapter a final read I realized that I certainly needed the first half as it concluded the drama at the end of the previous chapter. It was the second half which was dragging its feet with its ‘Yes, you’re lovely and I’m lovely too’ conversation.
So I went to work with my finger firmly fixed on the delete button. Now my characters’ conversation indicates at least cross purposes, if not actual conflict, and I managed to introduce a minor crisis which is shared only with the reader. I feel more satisfied as it’s livelier even if it’s now the shortest chapter in the book!
I’ve read that a writer has to cut anything that doesn’t drive the story forward but from inside your head where the story is living, it’s not always easy to get the distance which makes it clear where those cuts need to be made.
Horns toot and saws whine,
Bleeps, buzzings, blares deafen ears.
I sit by the pool.
I’m finding this blogging is getting into my brain though I’m not prolific enough to manage my own writing and a blog every day, but I am going to persevere.
Thank you to those of you who’ve emailed with encouraging comments, and thanks for those new websites to check out. Very useful.
Here are some recommendations which I hope are useful.
Here are a couple of websites about writing - I think good advice is always worth listening to;
And if you haven’t read Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’, I would suggest you do.
For all book lovers out there, I wish you good reading and for those of you who write, good writing.
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