Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Art of Deletion

So, I mentioned that I've been working on Curse Me A Story this previous week while Sarah was busy with BEA. I finished converting it to first person POV from third person POV which went well, and I like it. I like it a lot actually. It does create a quandary, though. Well, two quandaries.

The first quandary isn't necessarily a quandary so much as something I've noticed, I suppose. In a first person POV, even sex that is off the page... isn't quite so far off the page. In Curse Me A Story the characters are married and it's very, very off the page, but switching it from third to first person seems to drag it closer to the page itself. You're buried in the characters' thoughts so it makes sense that something as big as sex... wouldn't just stay in the background. Still, I hadn't realized that would happen, and I'm not sure what to think about it.

The second quandary is also due to the absence of the prologue and not just because of the conversion. (BTW I love it without a prologue. Sarah was soooooo right.) With the change to first person and a bit more inner dialogue, my first four chapters feel info-heavy even though I'm not sure that I added all that much. So, I need to work on those now and that might be a process that I come back to before Sarah and I tackle pitching Curse Me A Story (eventually.) (Sarah asked me to do this revision of Curse Me A Story back in January before she'd seen SECRETS and then she fell in love with SECRETS so we've been working on that.)

Adding elements to a story has never been a problem for me. Deleting excess... is much harder. Cutting without destroying flow? Oy. Snipping out unnecessary inner dialogue... makes my stomach cramp. I mean, when it comes down to character development... what is unnecessary? I'm trying to figure out how one does this. I'm convinced it must be an art. I've heard of writers highlighting everything they think is vital and then doing a cut and paste into a new document. I'm tempted to try that. Also, I'm terrified of that. LOL.

My goal, for today, is to cut 1K from the first four chapters. Ideally, I want it to be around 73K--which is where it started out the week. It's at 74, 693 words right now.

I did a read through on my Kindle and I've got around 200 notes to address too. Some are quirks left over from the conversion. (These quirks are hilarious to me because it sounds so disembodied when they turn up.) "I told himself not to worry." "My hand brushed her hair from my face." They're sort of creepy and funny... but I'm choosing not to share them with beta readers. I'm selfish that way.

In writing news... which isn't really news, Sarah met with the agency's film agent while at BEA, and they discussed my book and I'll have notes from that conversation as soon as Sarah recovers from the long week. I might be doing some requested work on SECRETS when I get those. So, I might be out of the cursed castle and back into Hidden Creek again fairly soon.

Being agented is different. You can't just pick up something random that you've worked on once upon a time and play around with it to your heart's content. It makes me grateful, once again, that this process took as long as it did. I have all these completed manuscripts behind me that I wouldn't have the time to just write "just because the story was there and I felt like it." Don't get me wrong, I love the SECRETS world of Hidden Creek. I love Piper's and Gris's voices. If I'm going to keep getting dragged back into a world... well, this is awesome, but it is different from how writing is before you're agented.

*Wendy looks at her dystopian and sighs*

In March, Sarah warned me to write what I wanted because it might be the last time I could work on whatever I wanted. Instead of working on the dystopian, I dove back into Hidden Creek and wrote PROMISES. I don't think Sarah regrets that because it fleshed out the world and there is the possibility I might make changes to SECRETS based on PROMISES. I don't completely regret it, but there is some part of me that keeps looking at the dystopian I want to work on and wondering if I actually need to sleep ever. I keep having crazy thoughts like, "If I work on SECRETS during the day in June, I can work on Sentinel's Run at night instead of sleeping."

Writers are crazy.

I'm the king of crazy... err... queen... or whatever.

Okay, well, that 1K isn't going to delete itself. Unless there is a massive harddrive failure... in which case... *knocks on wood*

I hope you guys are having a good weekend.


  1. I love reading about your progress. I imagine it is good to have an agent to work with. My first 2 books I worked with the editor a lot. That was great. She helped me a lot, and we ended up changing a lot that I thought was working. But then it was better. Keep up the pace!

  2. Good luck! (Not that you need it. :)

    I look forward to re-reading Curse in first person. (You will let me, right? I shall go cry in the corner if you don't!)

    I can see what you're saying about the sex although I hadn't thought of that either. On page yet vague is still a lot more than the implications it used to have. But it's not like it's gratuitous or shallow, and I think kids can understand the difference.

  3. Thanks, guys! I always wonder if these "progress report" posts are boring to others, so I'm glad to hear they're not. *cheers*

    Jeanne, you know, Sarah has been spot-on for helping me with my writing, so if she suggests something I always take a good hard look at it... even if it feels right.

    Andy, I'm always glad to have help with beta-reading. I asked my sister Jaime to read it for me to make sure it works and she was gung-ho, but I didn't want to push other people to reread if they weren't in the mood. I think it's better in first person, though.

    BTW... update... I've cut it down to 73, 582. Wooooooooooooooo!

  4. Yay you for diving in and making changes! I know it's hard.

    And I know EXACTLY what you mean about how writing changes when you're agented. I'm trying to bang out the first draft of a project before my editor sends me notes on Houses. Once that happens, I'll have revisions to do, not to mention starting work on the second book. If it doesn't get done now, I'm not sure it will. *sigh*

    Good luck!