Wednesday, February 27, 2008

snowed in, sort of

And snow is good for revision, but today I don't need it, since I've finished this draft, which means that I can put Carl and Nancy and Isabel out of my head for a while.
It's not that I don't like them, but I've been prodding them with the cursor for a month, and they're a little sullen by now, wanting to know why they can't keep that perfectly good line of dialogue, or why I took the china swans out of Carl's booth at the antique mall.
I have my reasons! But of course all writers say this, don't they?

Monday, February 25, 2008

still revising

I'm now on part 3, about 1/3 of the way through. So far I've cut abt 30 pp., which I would have said was impossible, but apparently not. It amazes me and shames me a little that I'm finding so much dead wood.
There are several kinds of cutting that I'm doing:
--finding a shorter (better) way to say something, just the most basic kind of cutting
--the parts where someone is getting into the car or opening a door or moving across the room, and the movement itself isn't necessary or significant
--bits where I was interested in something, but it didn't really do anything for the book; hence I've cut back judiciously on Carl's raptures about Ohio history. I did a fair amount of research, and my subconscious writer must have felt it should not go to waste.
--little tangents that I took in the first draft; these narrative tangents sometimes led me to great stuff--the discovery of Lily's next door neighbor Emma, who aims a shotgun at Carl, but then goes with him to find Lily, for instance. But others were dead ends.
--when I repeat myself, which happens especially in dialogue, I've noticed, which is probably because real speakers are often repetitive, saying the same thing in different ways, even with totally different words, but the underlying message is still the same.
This is the 5th draft, I believe, and I'm feeling humbled by how much I found to do.