Friday, June 19, 2009

Editing for a Reason

I know the title of this post is obvious. OF COURSE you edit for a reason, but let me elaborate. Before submitting my query to agents, I made several passes of Lost and Found. My two crit partners went through the whole thing, including a few chapters more than once. When all was said and done, the whole thing had been read and edited five + times and the beginning probably close to ten.

Since the first edits, I’ve queried many agents, getting a few requests for partials and fulls. One agent last week asked for a two-page synopsis and the first 30 pages of the manuscript (as I blogged about last week). Luckily, she got back to me right away since I was on pins and needles. She loved the premise, thought the writing was good, but said that the pacing was too slow. If I would cut the book (which was 83,400 words) “a lot” she would love for me to re-query.

Considering her letter, I had to agree. Despite going over the beginning several times, I could cut it down and get to the point. The pacing wasn’t fast and I didn’t get to my conflict soon enough. It’s funny how you can view something so different when someone points out the obvious.

Now I’m working on trimming it down to around 65,000 words (which would be around 18,000 shorter). The task is tough, yet in the end, even if the agent who made the suggestion doesn’t want to take myself and the book on as a client, I know that I will end up with a better book.

Remember when editing, get to the conflict as fast as possible. Grab the reader from the start and don’t let go. Read the first 30 pages over several times. Are there plot points that you never integrate into the rest of the book? If there is, cut it and get to the point. Readers want to be pulled in from the first word, not the fiftieth page.


Summer said...

Great advice. Good luck with the editing. I will definitely have to do the same when I got back for my revisions after I finally finish the first draft!

Tami Klockau said...

Thanks Summer! I've gotten to the point where I'm cutting scenes that aren't necessary but I love. ::sigh:: Sometimes the best stuff ends up on the cutting room floor. Good luck with your first draft and edits! Remember, conflict, conflict conflict.

Tracy Belsher said...

Whoot, Tami - you're talking like a pro. ;)

Fantastic advice here.....I still struggle with keeping the tension high and being "in" the action.

But you've got it going on, girl!