Cut From The Story

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

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It’s Rough, But It’ll Do

I’ve started editing and it is quite the whirlwind! I am so excited to be able to read through the story. There are so many funny things that happen near the beginning that I had totally forgotten about! When I finished, I felt like the story had been so static, but going back to the beginning, the story arch is really coming through. Brie and Hart, we’ve come a long way.

I’ve realized in going back that I REALLY tell myself the story. Sometimes, I’ll just break away from the narrative to write about history, geography, exposition, oddly specific character details. And yet, I’ve always told myself and others that I avoid exposition and over-describing like the plague. While that is my mentality for the final product, I learn so much about my world and characters in these free-writing moments, which guides the exploring of the world and story and the development of characters.
Of course, I’m aiming to chop out as many of these elements as possible, storing them about in my notes binder. After all, these elements really slow down the story at the beginning, and they take away from the mystery.

Why is the Battle of Taimes Brie’s favorite story?
Is her mother dead?
Who was Hart before the story began?

Removing these explanations speeds the story up, and allows the reader to have information to gather as they read along, discovering the characters and world as they journey through the story instead of in big expositional clumps of word vomit.

I’ve also realized that my first draft is a very rough first draft. I am a pro at not finishing sentences I suddenly deem unimportant and moving, as well as including plenty of “spelling” mistakes (i.e. words that I spell wrong because I accidentally write the wrong word). My husband has been reading the novel out loud for me to give me some extra perspective – and then I can stop him and say “was that boring? should I do this instead?” – and he never fails to read it EXACTLY as I have written. It’s a lot of palm-to-face.

Another thing I’ve realized is how much my characters change…and I don’t know if I like it. I miss old, snarky Brie and goodie-two-shoes Hart. They were both so innocent, but I put them through a lot. I guess that’s why they had to grow up. But I hope to really hone in on some of these core character qualities that really make me love them and focus on maintaining those qualities throughout the story – even when things get tough.

I can’t wait to share this story with you! We get to see a COMPLETELY different side of Eviryia in a really wonderful way.

First Draft. Done.

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It hath been accomplished.

First draft. Done.

12,000 words in the past two days.

127,000 words total.

Did it.

I can’t wait to start editing! This novel has a long way to go still, but the first big hurtle has finally been crawled over!

Right now, it’s a great story, but it’s not ready to be shared. I want you, as the reader, to be immersed in the story, the world, the characters, and I look forward to the next coming months to polish and reform this initial draft into something that is worthy of invading your imagination.