Part of the writing process often involves sitting back, looking over what you’ve done, feeling pleased and accomplished with yourself, and then ruthlessly cutting most of it during the edits.
My writer–brain screams in pain every time I do this. My editor–brain chuckles evilly.
One of the things I’ve seen over the years is that many people are afraid of cutting things. They have no problem going back and editing stuff but, when it comes to absolutely deleting entire paragraphs (or, oftentimes, chapters), they cramp up. Get skeered, as it were (I’ve lived in the South long enough that I get to say that). Minor spelling corrections, adding more descriptions… writers don’t have any problem doing this. But deleting a lot? Nuking an entire chapter or minor story arc because it fails to drive anything (or anywhere)? Well, that is where a writer often draws the line.
Hey, I’m guilty of this, too.
So how does one go about shutting down that creative side and focus on the stern taskmaster? Do you use two different computers? Have split personalities? Have first readers who double as editors? If you have the last one, by the way, you are one lucky individual.
Just some quick thoughts today. I’m working on Collectibles while trying to figure out how and why my resume didn’t upload to Google docs. Sometimes .docs is the best thing in the world; other times, I wish I could kill it with fire.
Also, in case you were living under a rock (or, most likely, didn’t hear) my buddy Stephen Zimmer has a short story in this new anthology called Thunder on the Battlefield: Swords, which was released on Tuesday. You should pick up a copy. Also, keep an eye out for Peter Clines’ newest, Ex-Purgatory, which is a continuation of his superheroes vs zombies novel series. It’s coming out in January 2014.
One thought on “The Working Man”
There are two ways to go about it, in my view. One is if you don’t look at the book for several weeks, months, or (as in my case), years, it’s much easier to go back and ruthlessly trim what needs to go.
Second is if you’re fortunate enough to be married to a better editor than you are. I had that, don’t have it now, and it does cramp my style.