Monday, May 4, 2015
First Story to the Work Group and a Word About Editing
Well, the first story of the five I mentioned in my last post has been sent to the workshop for the group to look over and C&C. Story #1 went from 10,200 words down to 8,200 words, and it's a sequel to ones I already had published. I won't say anything more about the content, not even the story's name, because there's no certainty that Jason Schmitzer will buy it. If he does buy it, I will post the story's name.
Anyway, how did I cut 2,000 words from a story? The first pass I always look to snip away words --- a couple of words here, a line there, tightening dialogue and description. And after all that, I had cut the story a whole 500 words.
Five hundred words
On a shorter story, it wouldn't have mattered, but that still left me with a 9,700 word story. I was going to have to cut a lot deeper.
I've done it before -- in a previous blog post, (I have to do What?!?!) I had to cut 2,300 words out of a story before Jason would buy it. But I also knew that snips wasn't going to cut it. I had to cut at least one scene.
I knew which scene had to be cut. It was more a character scene than anything else, to show how far the character was willing to go to complete his mission. But I realized that despite how much I liked the scene, it was wrong for the story --- it had only an indirect connection with the main events, a character that appeared nowhere else in the story, and it might not pass the Continuity Hooligans. Which leads to the lesson I learned, that all writers must face; You must cut that which doesn't move the story forward.
And when it came down to it, it didn't move the story along as much as other scenes did. So it went -- all 1,500 words of it. I suddenly had a 8,200-word story, and a second pass made a few more changes without altering the word count. And that's what went to the workgroup.
I never throw a scene away -- it gets saved off into it's own file, on the off chance I can put it into another story. Maybe there is a story in the future that can use such a scene like the one I cut. There's no telling where my writing will take me.
That's all for now --- Check out my ask a writer thread over the Battletech main forum (Want to ask a Battletech Writer something? ---- Round 2!) if you have a question you want to ask me.