Monday, March 11, 2013

Editing when you're in a hurry

Last year I got the rights back to four of my books. My first four books.

The good news is...I can self-publish them. The bad news is...the writing is abysmal in far more places and ways than I feel comfortable admitting. LOL

I've consoled myself with thinking I've learned something in 25 years.

Anyway, I don't want to spend a lot of time on these books so I have a sort of system.

1.  When in doubt, take it out.

 I have a very solid storyline. But I have a lot of places where I head hopped. Apparently in the late eighties that was okay -- maybe even encouraged! LOL I tried to figure out a way to keep at least "some" of the cute things each of the characters thought, and use them in a later scene, but one day I said the hell with it. And I approached each scene with the knowledge that you get one POV...keep one...trash the other. Don't try to keep it, save it or put it somewhere else. Hit delete.

That was a major time saver!

2. Any time you see the word "felt" you may be looking at a "tell" not a show.

She felt the wind pummel her. Really? Couldn't the wind just pummel her?

3. Make it immediate, clear, visual

I meandered into a lot of scenes with paragraphs of description. I cut those paragraphs in favor of starting off with the hero or heroine saying something and describing their surroundings through character movement. "He strolled up to the mahogany bar and caught the mug of beer the bartender slid to him," easily replaced one paragraph of the hero describing the bar as he walks in the door.

4. Take out long passages of backstory...

And you'll be surprised. Sometimes you can take them out and realize you didn't need them. But if some explanation is required do it in short bursts of only the information needed by the reader in this moment!

And that's it so far. I'm only about 1/2 way through the book. Who knows what lurks in the second half! LOL

Happy Monday


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