Tuesday, January 05, 2010

2010: Day 5 & The Edits Just Keep On Coming

Speaking of edits, not long ago someone in one of several groups I belong to asked fellow writers to read through his first few revised chapters and asked them to offer their comments and suggestions. As usual, I’d arrived late. Several of the comments left on the post indicated that this was possibly round two or three of edits. I read the chapter and offered my two cents worth of advice. The read was cumbersome with pages and pages of narration -- all telling, not a showing sentence in sight.

Nearly all the readers suggested the piece needed more editing. Sadly, the writer wrote back to say that cutting any of his words felt like cutting off his right arm and he just couldn’t delete any more. How disappointing. The very worst thing writers can do is to fall so deeply in love with their words that they kill the manuscript in the process. No matter how good a first draft may seem, it’s still a skeletal outline of what’s to come.

So my advice to anyone who happens to read this post is to not be afraid to cut words, sentences, paragraphs, or even entire chapters. In fact, be ruthless with your edits. Pages need several polishings before they shine. Better to get a harsh critique than a harsh review.