Friday, November 13, 2009

Mostly about editing

My ideas for a post today are all over the place, so I'll just jump and in and maybe they will tie together.

I'm happy with my progress in editing Kindred. Anyone notice that word count over in the side bar? From an original word count of 325,000+ it's fallen to 162,000 and change. I know that's still long for a novel these days, debut or otherwise, but considering where I started from, it's edging into the realm of the possible now, right? I'm only halfway through the current edit, so I have hopes of getting it deep down into the 150s. How lovely it would be to drop below 150K.....

Yesterday evening I read a post by agent Wendy Lawton, about overwriting, and showing vs. telling, and when is it too much showing. I tend to show too much, which means on the macro level some things are rendered as scenes that really could be dealt with using narrative summary, and on the micro level, there's too much stage business and body language. Anyone else have this tendency? Then I urge you not to miss Wendy's post this week Following The Rules: Fiction, over at Between The Lines. She strongly reinforced what I've been trying to put into practice on this edit. It's all about pace, and focus, and not giving the reader literary whip-lash (her phrase, and I like it).

I woke up this morning at 3:30am, thinking about her advice, and mentally editing Kindred, and obviously not falling back to sleep, so I got up and put in an extra hour of work before my day officially started.

Now I'm very sleepy....


  1. A problem I do not have. I tend to go VERY dialogue heavy. And I look back sometimes and see a page of it and think 'now it's time to bacl and add some body language or at least tags!!'

    I just took my latest MS from 47-50K this week to finish up my initial round of edits. I always have to make them longer...

  2. And I try to find places where I can pare things down to just dialogue, for a few lines at least, to give that quick, back-and-forth pace. It might happen once a chapter.

    I think of all those books at B&N, and how many different processes led to this similar goal of getting a book on a store shelf and into the hands of readers. I'm thankful that while there are rules, there are just as many freedoms in the craft of writing.