Thursday, January 27, 2011
My Novel's Journey: Mind Over Matter edits--lesson time
Last week, I didn't talk much about the lessons I've learned--or knew and applied--in my editing marathon, so I thought I'd talk about a three now.
Less is More: Last week, I met my goal of cutting 32,000 words, and I think I can cut more. Some of it was redundancy and a cutesy parceling out of bits of info when really, just saying it didn't hurt things at all. However, I also cut out a subplot, some favorite scenes, a couple of instances when we saw an event from two character POVs. Rather than losing the richness of the story, it has made the primary conflict harder-hitting and the story moves faster.
Kill the sacred subplot. I loved the subplot of Joshua's failed romance. I used it to show the differences between Kanaan romance and human. Also, his ex shows up near the end. (No spoilers on how, other than it's awesome.) Nonetheless, I spent way too much time in background and flashback for something that ended even before Mind Over Mind. Some of it was gut-wrenching writing, too, but let's face it: Josh is stuck on an alien planet. Is he going to stress over an affair gone bad? It distracted from the main theme. Machete time! Subplots should support the theme.
Be open to change: I started the rewrite process by re-reading the hardcopy and making notes. After about the fourth chapter,however, I didn't even look at the notes because the revision moved far beyond the simple changes I'd planned. The notes helped to jumpstart my brain, but as a character-driven seat-of-the-pants writer, I get a lot of energy by letting my characters take control. Even in revisions, I'm a pantster.