Friday, April 24, 2009

When You Realize It's Time to Say Good-bye

I was reading Miss Snark’s First Victim (an amazing blog- if you haven’t visited before, it’s a must) the other day. It made me realize I hadn’t paid enough attention to my “hook”, the first 250 words of chapter 1. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned much about my book, Lost and Found, but it’s in 'he said/she said' format. Reading the first 250 words made me realize I started with the wrong point of view, the wrong character.

It’s great to understand this now, when I’m still knee deep in the editing process. One of the many things I’ve learned in the process of writing and editing this book; it’s never too late to say good-bye to those scenes you love, but don’t have a purpose. Every scene, no matter how amazing you think it is, if it doesn’t have a purpose, say your good-byes and then press Ctrl-x (or command-x for all the Macs out there).

Never be afraid to think outside the box when editing. If the book gets better because of cuts you don’t want to make, it’s worth it. Even if a few important lines get cut, try to work them in somewhere else. You may be surprised how easy it is to slip in an explanation here or there that gives a scene more meaning later, but also keeps that unneeded scene on the cutting room floor.

Now I must go back to cutting my unneeded scenes. Another thing I’ve learned? Cutting scenes always leads to editing and cutting more. It’s like a snowball effect.

1 comment:

Tracy Belsher said...

Tami - thanks for telling us about the Miss Snark's First Victim link - I could spend wayyyy too much time reading comments and learning just what hooks readers.

As for revisions - yeah, saying goodbye to those fab sentences, paragraphs, even chapters can be hard. But for each goodbye there's a HELLO moment waiting in the wings. And if there isn't...there's chocolate.