Wednesday, February 10, 2010
It's time to cut
There comes a point where you just have to cut things out of a story. I hit that point with Silky 3 over the last few days. The problem was that I didn't realize it at first. I just got bogged down in rewrite, rewrite, change, rewrite -- an entire section that just kept dragging along. This is an adventure! It can't be this boring!
So, I would rewrite pages. Change things around. Add in more enemies. Rewrite.
And then, in a fit of frustration, I threatened the story with true bodily harm. If it didn't shape up, I was going to start cutting out pieces until it did.
I looked at it. I looked at it again. Then I cut about 5k from the story, reworked a few references and you know... suddenly the story isn't dragging any more.
There wasn't anything in those 5k words that I couldn't sum up in a couple lines and move on. I am so much happier now.
Sometimes it's hard to tell when you need to rewrite to make something interesting and where you just need to cut and summarize. However, always remember that if something isn't interesting to you as a writer, it's not going to be interesting to the reader. If you are bored, expect the same reaction from someone reading the work. You have to really be tough with every single page. You have to feel the excitement. If you aren't, then do two things. First, if you are in the edit/rewrite phase, put the work aside and write something else for a little while. Get it out of your head. It's possible to be bored with a book simply because you have been working on it for too long. If you read and reread the same book by your favorite author, day-after-day, you'd get bored with it, too. It might have nothing at all to do with the story itself.
Put it aside. Write something else, work on art, clean house -- do anything but work on that book for a few days.
Then go back and read from a few pages before you found the problem and see if it flows through it. If not, start seriously looking at if you need the scene, or if you could, instead, give a few lines about what happened and move on.
There are a few times when it is better to write a little rather than a lot. Never bore the reader. Also remember that since you are your own perfect market you had better be writing something that pleases you.