Friday, July 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th

I'm not writing any new material for the novel until I finish editing this chapter, but I can finally see the end in sight. (I'm still editing chapter two if you must know, though I'm hoping to begin the edit of three today). I've struggled with this section more than usual because it's key to setting up new characters and plot for the story, but I did a really bad job on my first write through. As I'm editing I see whole sentences that need to be removed because they don't further anything, yet I'm struggling with deleting them. They are my sentences. I created them. But they're crap. I don't know why I cling to these words when they really make the writing worse, maybe it's a common problem. I just finished reading Sixpence House (exellent), and he discusses the publication process of his first book and it seems somehow familiar to me. I can understand him stubbornly clinging to his words as editors and proofreaders try to change them, but I can also remember working on the other side and the frustration editors would feel when an author refused to see sense and change something to make their book better. I need to remember that. Editors don't try to sabotage books, they want to make them better. I'm making it better by pruning the dross.
I've also been thinking about one of my favorite English teachers from high school. She once made us write a paper without using any to be verbs (is, are, was, were, be, being, been, has, etc.). It was so frustrating! But it taught me to use active verbs, and how they move the story along. Obviously to be verbs have a place in writing, but it's important not to become too reliant on them. When I'm editing my chapter, the weakest sections always rely heavily on these verbs. I spend half my time rewriting the sentences into active sentences. I'm trying to find a balance between slowing myself down as I write so I don't write lazily and not losing the zap of creativity by going too slowly and editing every word in a sentence. And that's where editing comes in. Full circle I suppose.

Random article of the day: Can it get any more ridiculous? $225,000 for a Manhattan parking spot!


JJ said...

Was on my way to yours yesterday and but got turfed off the pc by one of the six children here who wanted to check their emails. Hmmm.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for nominating me for the lovely pink Rockin' thing. I've never been rockin' ever, and I'm dead flattered.
I'm going to cut and paste the comments you've made in this post because I think it's well worth remembering.
Thanks again. See you soon.

Angie said...

That's too funny, JJ, glad I don't have to compete for the computer!
I love reading your site and commiserating about writing. You deserved it. Every girl (especially a writer) needs a pink award now and again. ;)
I'm flattered you think this is worth remembering! Thanks.