Monday, August 28, 2006

Chapter four hit the dust!

Ha, HA! I did it!

I have faced the enemy and she is me.

I brought out my first 20 pages and ripped them to shreds. I killed clauses that were poetic because they didn't advance the story. I dropped whole sub-plots because they were preachy and not necessary.

Feeling rather smug, considering the first 20 have been read a gazillion times and I massacred it I took on the next 20.

Slash and dash, entire chapters are 86'd.

There really is something to leaving something alone for six months. In the intervening six months since I last really, truly took a good look at my baby, my novel, I decided it was rot. Unworthy. Not worth the ink it would take to print it out and fix it. Certainly not worth the effort it would take to edit it enough to actually sell it.

But see, I had to. Deadlines, you know.

And you know what? My darlings didn't need to be there. That was for my learning pleasure. And shoot, I dunno if I have it in me to fix the rest of this puppy, but heck, I feel great that I can see enough value in it that I may even talk to a few people about it at conference next month.

So in the words of someone I don't know, but quoted by Stephen King in his "On Writing," (actually I always thought it was Mr. King's statement, but I keep hearing otherwise) "Murder Your Darlings" you'll be glad you did.

And for you non-writers out there....I know I mentioned Stephen King...I'm talking about words, phrases, entire chapters of prose that sound wonderful to you, but need to visit the recycle bin--not anything living. I promise.

I don't even like to kill spiders. Ew, ew, ew.

3 comments:

kpjara said...

This is exactly why I don't think I could ever write professionally...I don't have the heart!

GeorgianaD said...

WOW, you're brave! Six months away? I don't know if I could stay away from my "baby" for that long. I know what you mean about cutting out all the extras, but I don't think I have as much red ink as you do:) When do you start the re-write?

Chaos-Jamie said...

Well Georgiana, I wrote the entire thing in about three months (no books, no tv, little sleep) and immediately did the re-write (just like everyone will tell you not to do) but I had a deadline, you see. I had an editor that asked for it and I needed to send it.

She was very nice. Eventually left the house. Never got around to rejecting me (but her replacement did).

I did another re-write a couple months later just before conference. After conference I submitted it everywhere that offered. Got many, many rejections.

Made re-writes as the rejections with suggestions came in.

And about then the Genesis contest was due so I polished the first 20 pages.

And I totally walked away from it and on to other persuits.

So now, six months later, I'm re-writing again. I totally see the benefit of leaving domething to gather dust. You can see a lot of flaws in the dust pattern that were never obvious before.

Now my articles? I write 'em. I read them. I re-write them. And I submit them. All in about three days.