Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Deletions & Additions

I'm editing.

I'm pretty well-focused on getting The Cold Distance in good shape for a second round of notes and eventual targeted submission to publishers. It's going pretty well as I'm cutting words, phrases, sentences, entire paragraphs from the Zero/First draft that I cranked out last November and December.

New scenes - entire pages - are being added, too.

See when I was working away during NaNoWriMo, I was just doing my best to get the story out of my head and onto a digital page. I needed the story to be as complete as it could be. I have a tendency to bog myself down in the initial draft by drowning in details. I've learned over the last four or five years to not do that any more but that makes going back just a bit more tedious than just culling and changing words here and there for clarity. It means I have to get back into the headspace I was in last winter. Fortunately I left myself some excellent notes as to what I needed to do. Here's an example:

Dee was attending school on the next planet out from Ffeine in the Pirous system. It had taken some time for her to be placed with Madame Skartarine, but Dee liked the older woman immediately. Madeleine was in her early thirties, a human the same as Dee and beyond smart. Dee was treated as a daughter by Madeleine, given clothes, an elegantly appointed room and an education she never would have gotten if her parents were alive learning about politics, math, science and literature encompassing more than just the human experience. Madame Skartarine was concerned with as much of the galaxy as she could figuratively put her hands on. 
There was something about Dee that Madeleine loved immediately upon meeting the little girl, a connection that was electric. 

Ah, telling rather than showing. (I got called out on it in the first round of notes, too. I LOVE my writer's group!) I needed to have scenes of them actually meeting, not just a quick montage of images. At the time, it was enough to keep me from bogging down and overthinking everything. Now, with some distance between me and the original draft I can see that each sentence is at least one scene. Will each of them survive the culling in the second round? I dunno. I'll figure that out when I get there.

For this draft, I'm adding a lot, taking a lot more out and seeing what I've got afterwards. Hopefully it'll be a tighter story with even more emotional punch than the first time around. That's the goal.

So there's the update. Have a great day everyone.


Muriel said...

Interesting to hear about your editing process! I probably spend three times as long editing as I do writing but I never hear people talk about editing.

Jason Arnett said...

Glad you liked this, Muriel. I'll talk more about my process as I keep going through the book.