Ooh, ooh look! Something shiny!
I had a fantastic idea for this post and then after 'she's shouting at me' and 'Aghhhhhh' and 'mummeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' I forgot what it was :(
Such is life... So instead I want to ask other authors who are kind enough to read my blog, what you have to do in order to cull some of those precious words you spent hours tapping out, perfecting and then polishing to within their lives?
I have a contemporary that I wrote in about two months. 55,000 words from begininng to end, one of those stories where the characters write it for you rather than me sweating bricks over where it's going and how it's getting there. Anyway, when I was editing the final MS, I discovered the ending I beamed about was so anti-climactic it nearly made me gag. So I did what any budding author would do. I backtracked until I found the place I went wrong and things turned sour but then I asked myself why I did it. Why, after all the bricks and everything, did I tell myself it was okay to have a mediocre ending? So off went the last fifteen thousand words.
I hate it when you thought you were done and everything was hunky dory only to sit back and see the dreaded word count mocking. Then you need to search in that little black hat for the ever elusive rabbit, coax him far enough to grab a hold and pull the little blighter out.
Damn, lost my train of thought again... Miss four is going the toilet and then she yells out 'mummy, I'm going to practice my whistle every day'. For other mother's out there, you know when your child is in the bathroom you absolutely cannot ignore what they scream at you no matter how inane it might be... But then I had to ask her to scream it again because at the same time, Miss two came up with a party blower and told me she was going to practice too. *sighs* can't wait for the playroom to be up and running.
Anyway, back to the ending. It has seriously taken me six months (that's all I'm fessing up to) to finish that last fifteen thousand words. In fact, I finished the historical I was working on, polished it, plotted the next one, wrote twelve thousand words on it and then wrote twenty thousand on another contemporary. You see, I suffer from 'somthing shiny' syndrome. That shiny new idea or new story starts to distract me from what now resembles a beaten dog. Let me explain that before the PETA people start knocking my door. Metaphorically speaking, sometimes after you've read through the MS ten times, I start to feel like I'm 'beating a dead dog'. I'm the kind of person who can usually only read a story once (I know I've said that many times) so when I already know what happens and how it ends, I find myself skimming over parts but in the final edits, that signals death for me. So then my story starts to feel boring and I enter this kind of pergatory where because I think the story now sucks. I start thinking, well, why does it need an ending if it's boring and crappy anyway?
But that's just me. I send it off to a CP or crit group and they come back with the always wished "more, more, more" and then I dredge the file out of the bottom of the USB, open it up and then remember that the ending still isn't there. So after fifty thousand odd words on other projects, I finally got my butt into gear and jumped right back in to the story. I'm on the last chapter, procrastinating again, but now I have incentive to get to the 'the end'. I'm not allowed to start the shiny new historical till this one is done. If I was really good, I would finish the twenty thousand contemporary as well but while I find myself in a hystorical (hysterical) mood I really want to keep the momentum going. So it's off to the coal mine for me *kidding* =)
So how do you, as an author, cull when you have to? And how do you work out what works and what doesn't? Is there a method?
4/10/2010 11:02:15 am
Hi Bronwyn! Thought I'd stalk you right back! Sounds like it's all go in your household. Congratulations on all the productivity you've managed in spite of the distractions. I'm currently cutting HUGE numbers of words from a ms so I know what you're talking about. First thing I do is go through chasing repetitions and too much verbiage (I'm inclined to rant on as you won't be surprised to hear). Amazing what a bit of tightening can do!
lol, Anna, you're welcome to stalk me any time you like!
4/11/2010 05:59:43 am
Bronwyn, it's part of the process I enjoy too. I'm a Virgo, we love fiddling with things!
4/11/2010 02:07:11 pm
I have no idea Bronwyn - I just edit until it feels right. And I'm constantly learning all the time. :) Good luck with the final words. I expect at our next meeting that there will be no new shiny things and that you are working on it or finished. :))
5/3/2010 09:15:30 am
You got me thinking about this now (I'm slow to catch up in my google blog reading *lol*).
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I'm a published author but I'm still mostly stumbling about in the dark looking for the right paths so this blog is about that, though sometimes something will give the me the shits and I'll have a bit of a rant. I'll try not to be offensive but occasionally my mouth opens without asking my brain's permission so I'll apologise in advance.