Thursday, October 27, 2011

When Good Writing Isn't Enough

Wow. It's almost the end of October. I can't believe how time speeds by and suddenly another month is gone. Are you all well? How are your writing projects progressing?

I recently learned a valuable lesson from my editor friend Angela. Maybe it's more accurate to say that I relearned it or finally internalized this principle. You're probably way ahead of me, but here it is, my big revelation . . .

Sometimes good writing needs to be cut. Even if you love it and it hurts to see the scene go, cut away.

I know, I've heard this at every writer's conference I've ever attended, but it hit home during my current rewrite. I guess I've always thought in the back of my mind that if I wrote a passage better I could keep it in. Unfortunately, that's not the case. We need to eliminate what doesn't move the story forward, painful as it may be.

I don't really mind the cutting. I've taken my women's fiction novel down 20,000 words, and I'm not even close to finished. But it's so exciting to see the story improve, see new things emerge. I edited until 3:3o am the other day, and I was startled to see the time, caught up as I was in the thrill of newly falling in love with an old piece of work.

A few more weeks, and I can begin querying again. I can hardly wait.

Are you editing now? Don't you just love writing when it makes everyday life an adventure? Have a great time in the process, blogging buddies!


  1. Awww glad to hear you are enjoying the editing process and getting your ms all shipshape fabulous ready to be queried soon!!

    I've just taken a whole week to edit my first para of my ms and it's given me a headache! LOL!

    Take care

  2. It sounds like you have an excellent editor. She not only knows what you need to do but she can help you to see it too.

  3. I have one with an editor now, so I'll be editing again shortly. Im starting on another until then.

    Have a great weekend and good luck with your editing.

  4. I'm editing now, hoping to make this story that I wrote years ago into something I can sell! LOL! I've learned so much since I wrote it and am applying it all. I think it is far stronger than it's ever been, and part of that was letting go of a subplot and some scenes that just weren't moving the story forward. Good luck!!

  5. Moving the story forward. I wish I could see what would be cut, AS I was writing, that way I wouldn't have to cut anything. LOL. But I have to write from beginning to end and see what it is that has to come out when it's done.

    Nice to see you areound the blogs again. Are you only posting once a month because you are, or because you're busy and time escapes.

  6. Cutting can be painful. I'm glad you'll be querying soon. Good luck!

    I hope to edit a short story soon. Then I need to decide if I'm going to finish editing something old or start something new. Lots of ideas, little time.

  7. I feel compelled to cut when I find that I am overtelling. However, sometimes I need to expand my writing when I find that the pace goes too fast. In other words, there are cases in which I need to write more.

  8. I am the queen of "kill your darlings." Because I write genre fiction, most of the good writing has to be cut to make way for the plot. Any words that elicit thinking or feeling must be eliminated post haste. Very sad.

    Good luck with your queries, Roxy!

  9. Writing for me is like getting blood from a rock, so the thought of getting 20k words cut just amazes me. I would love to read what you write!

  10. Someone once told me that if you have to cut something good, save it in a 'cut' file (like a security blanket). You never know. Perhaps you'll use it at a later date. :)

  11. Editing can take place in many forms these days. I'm trying to let go of years of gathered objects that I thought I needed and finally know I do not.
    Next comes where to send them.

  12. Roxy: A great lesson. My first book, which did very well, started out almost 1600 pages! It was published as a 150 page memoir - but it took me five years and a great deal of negativity to learn the lesson. Good luck!

  13. With your positive attitude, I'm sure the end result will sparkle! I've been under my rock *hangs head for not coming around more* cutting and stuff. I think, once the delete button did its first trick, the rest wasn't so bad.

    Good luck!