Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Revising Diamonds

Most writers that I know have to cut. Their first drafts wax long and wordy. They end up cutting and cutting. I have the opposite problem, especially near the end of my books. I tie up all the loose ends a little too quickly and undercut all the tension I’ve built over the course of the novel.

After someone pointed this out to me, I started a revision on my novel. It’s a heady thing. Today one chapter morphed into three or four, and it’s not done yet. My characters are getting a chance to do more and to be more as their personalities find more opportunity for expression. It’s exhausting and exhilarating.

That’s one of the joys of editing. Writing a story is mining a diamond out of the earth’s depths. You experience the thrill of discovery. (And even above that metaphor, writing is creating something that didn’t exist before you made it.) Editing, on the other hand, is becoming a lapidary. It’s meticulous, cutting and polishing that rough diamond until every facet catches the light and reflects a myriad of colors. It’s honing the plot, dialogue, action, characters and voice so that someone else can know and love the story you have to tell.

4 comments:

  1. I'm an adder, too--I have to add before I know what to cut, hehe. Good luck polishing those diamonds!

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  2. I definitely fall into the cuttin-necessary group. The first draft of my first novel was 130,000 words!
    After much, much revision, I'm down to 89,000 and actually ended up splitting the book in two!
    Good Luck with your revisions, I love your outlook on them :)

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  3. Andrew McPhersonJune 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    I just simply hope you won't have to cut those three to four chapters later on!!

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  4. I'm still editing. Truthfully, I don't know when to stop!! I do enjoying re-reading my novel. I suppose the fact I'm not sick of it yet is a good sign, right?

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