Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Learning to Choose My Words

I am certain that the hardest part of writing is revising your work. I have finished the first draft of my book. I am now at the hard part. Revising it into something coherent. I printed out the first draft and sat down with it. Well with parts of it because this was thick. 360+ pages thick. And I had to edit it.
That isn't the hard part. The hard part is when you start reading what you wrote and you realize that you have to delete what you've slaved over. My finger hovers nervously over the delete button while I wonder, Does this really need to go? The answer is almost always, Yes. After trying to reword numerous ways and even reading it out loud to myself, it is time to admit that it just doesn't work. It is a heart breaking experience to look at the words you put down with love going the way of the trashbin. It was hard, as hard as putting my kids on the bus the first day of school was. But I did it, even though I wanted to cry.
And you know what? Unlike the kids starting school, which didn't get easier as the next one went, this did. I learned to look at the words on the page and see them as either important to the story I want to tell, or not. I learned that the delete button can be my friend.
I am hoping that this is a good sign. If I can delete what I wrote while thinking, God, did I write that? then this has to get easier the more I do it. Doesn't it? Anyone out there going through revisions for the first time? Anyone else suffering the trauma of sending your words spinning into the great trashbin on the computer?


Beth said...

Your blog is beautiful; very classy and understated. I love it.

I have a file that I put all deleted treasures into; I think it's hard to cut out what I am SURE is so witty and clever (snort).

Terry Stone said...

Beth, I do that too. After taking your advice on the first chapter, I put my town description in a file, and then pulled it back out when I needed it.

Thanks for the compliments on my blog. I am so new at this, it makes me queasy.

Tessa Dare said...

I, too, have a file labeled "cutting room floor" - and it's a big file. I've deleted entire chapters. Chapters I loved, but I couldn't keep them b/c the book was too long. Sigh.

Terry Stone said...

Tessa, I just scrapped my orginial chapter one and redone the entire thing. But the orginial is still on my computer, because I can't bring myself to delete it. Someday, maybe,but for now I think I'll just keep it.

Kelly Krysten said...

Gosh the delete button is my best friend sometimes! And then other times I have that same moment you described, finger hovering over the button, sweat beading on my forehead..ok, not so dramatic but you get it. In my current WIP it's become evident that a few of my heroines friends have to go. I LOVE these characters, they were my friends too...but alas, they must go. Now this deleted scene file is an excellent idea and thanks for the tip. Love the site Terry, that was an excellent blog!