Monday, July 30, 2012

Letting Go

We've all had to do it. As writers, it's a given. Letting go of some of our favorite scenes.
It's difficult, but at the end of the day we have to have a critical eye for our own work, and make the tough decisions. As much as we may love one scene in particular, we have to think to ourselves 'is this doing anything to further the plot and keeping the reader engaged, or does it mean something to me and only me?'.

 I did a lot of cutting this weekend. Thanks to some great feedback (shout-out to Molly and also Melanie). I'd been putting off changes for a while, possibly because I'm lazy, or maybe just plain scared of the work I would have to do, but once I started it became easier. My story used to be over 128,000 words (ugh!) and it is now sitting pretty at 100,388. It's still high for YA, but oh my gosh, it's actually less than my projected number. It feels good. The story is tighter, it flows better, and is now officially in the YA category. My characters started off in the middle of their senior year, with the story ending after their first semester in college. I had multiplepeople tell me that it might be a bit too old for YA. So, I went back and changed the timeline, which I'm sure you can guess, required many other changes throughout the manuscript. Hence the reason I was putting it off.

 One of the reasons I saw things more clearly is because I haven't worked on Fire and Ice for a few months and I had fresh eyes. I know you've heard it a lot, but put your manuscript away for while, let it rest, give yourself a break, and when you get back you'll be able to spot those problematic areas. I'm glad I listened to the advice and faced my fears. I'm not completely done editing, I'm going to do one more sweep before feeling comfortable enough to send it out. But my manuscript is closer than its ever been before and that's both exciting and oh so scary.


  1. It speaks volumes that you are able to look at it subjectively! It is so hard to let go of scenes we love! I hated doing it with my manuscript but there were things that just weren't needed so I let them go, but at least we'll always know what happened! I know that was a ton of work you just did but it will only strengthen a story that is already strong! Can't wait to read on :)

  2. Wow, that's awesome! Good for you :)

    ...and I can completely empathize with everything you said in this post :)

    In the back of my head, there are a few brain cells dedicated to unravelling the current ending of 'Simon's Oath' which I do know *has* to happen.

    I do not look forward to the work involved though I do know it will make the story better.

    hopefully ;)

  3. Cutting is so hard! But wow it feels good to have a leaner meaner story :)

  4. Congrats on cuttting so many words! I'm currently trying to go from 115K to 100K, so it's inspirational to hear that you did almost twice that. :D I've been through it quite a few times, though, and I'm not sure how many scenes are left that I actually *should* cut.

    Huzzah for successful editing and almost-final drafts!

  5. Ah, letting go is SO difficult. Props to you for being able to take a fresh look at your work! That's great progress! I always struggle with that.

  6. Wow! A 28,000 word cut is incredible! It can be so hard to let go of scenes that you love. But in the end, it always feels so much better! Congrats! That's such a huge accomplishment!

  7. That's fantastic! Cutting stuff is always difficult. Yet seeing the pretty polished piece is worth it. :)

  8. That's AWESOME! It is so hard to cut up your baby like that and drop the words you worked so hard to get out. But it will all be better in the end:)

  9. Woot! Prerna, that is so awesome! Not just the cutting, but the fact that it's actually coming along, coming together... It is scary, isn't it? But it's good. And oh my gosh, it's exciting.

    Best, Lovely,