I’ve gotten through seven or eight scenes now, and I can already feel the story improving. I am cutting out a LOT. Every scene goes down in word count. Sometimes scenes are only 100 words less, but in other cases, over 1,000 words have been cut from the story. Most of this is exposition or redundant wording, trimming the story into a novel.
I wonder sometimes if I should be more upset when I have to scrap large sections of what I’ve written, or even whole scenes, but every time I press that ‘delete’ button, I feel a weight lifting off my shoulders.
Since the Eviryian Tales [does that sound catchy? Just trying it out for now] are YA novels, the story really needs to pick up traction quickly, and I am finding more and more that interesting but unessential tidbits are more unessential than interesting. Maybe that’s why I’m not fighting to delete and erase. Of course, I have a saved copy of the first draft, but it is rife with fluff, inconsistencies, and mistakes.
I think a principle that is really helping me with editing is realizing
— Erin Phillips (@ep5solae) August 31, 2015
This perspective gives me freedom to delete what isn’t needed, even if I wrote it, because it’s not about me and catering to my own sentimentality, it’s about writing the best story possible so my reader will have an adventure when they open the book.
A little mystery is good, after all. They don’t need to know EVERYTHING right away. In fact, sometimes it’s more exciting for a reader to discover things for themselves, picking up the clues and putting the puzzle together, or to be waiting for a lingering question to be answered. [I mentioned this in my previous post It’s Rough, But It’ll Do.]
For example, one scene, clocking in at 1,533 words, is now sitting contently in the trash bin. It didn’t work for several reasons:
1. Too much exposition and hargle-bargle.
2. Not a powerful enough scene for Galen’s first cameo.
3. Not a great scene showcasing Hart’s POV for the first time.
4. Why do we need to know any of this?
5. Wasting time, putting on the interesting stuff.
6. Did I mention ‘boring and slow’?
There you have it! A peak into my brain on editing.
Also, I just ate an amazing delicious apple. Yum.