Bitch-Slapping My Inner Editor

I’m editing right now. Fourth draft. The plan – beforehand at least – was to make some tough cuts, chop out a couple characters and some extra scenes, trim it down a bit.

Well I can’t. I don’t want to. It just doesn’t feel right.

Would it bring the reader to a climactic scene a bit sooner? Yes. Around 3,000-ish words sooner. Would it reduce the overall word count? Yes, by about 5-7,000 words, I think.

Would the reader know my protagonist as well, understand what makes her tick a bit better? Definitely not. Would it hinder the story arc over three books? Yes, a little.

I’ve been worried – obsessed, if you want the truth – about the fact that this one pivotal scene happens around a quarter of the way through the book. I’ve gotten it into my head that that’s too long. But the thing is, something like a dozen people have read it so far, and not a single person has shared that sentiment. I think I’ve been so focused on advice that says you have to lay out ALL THE ACTION!!! on the first page, but there’s more than one way to write a book. Do my first few pages lay the foundation for some action? Yes they do. This go-around I’ve been working on ramping up the spookiness so there’s a better sense of impending peril, which admittedly wasn’t as effective as it could be in previous drafts. If I’m doing it right, there should be lots for the reader to worry and wonder about. And those pages leading up to that one big scene certainly aren’t devoid of action. There’s lots going on.

I’m coming to the realization that cutting the chracters and scenes I was contemplating really does a disservice to the story. The reader needs to know who Callie was before in order to appreciate the way she changes throughout the series. By cutting all those parts, she’s less vibrant, less passionate, less anchored to her old life.

Are there still some thoughtful changes to be made? Absolutely. But this is going to be my final draft. I can’t keep going back and forth on this issue, wondering if I should or shouldn’t. It’s time to finish it and move on.

Wish me luck!

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~ by Nicole Bross on March 6, 2013.

2 Responses to “Bitch-Slapping My Inner Editor”

  1. Boy, does this ever resonate with me after going through eight book proofs to make corrections. And, I was mostly after SPAG, although a few sentences were reworked, and I fixed a time/space/continuity problem at one point. The line that really got me was the second sentence in your second to last paragraph, about letting your reader know who Callie was before so he/she could appreciate her character’s evolution during the story. I think you have to go with your gut because you better than anyone knows the story you’re putting into print. If something feels wrong, or contrived, or icky, just put it in file 13. ;o)

    • Very true! I’m going to stick with what I have for now and start querying it. If I get feedback that it could be better without it, I’d certainly be open to looking at it again. My gut right now definitely says to keep it. :)

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