Sunday, September 5, 2010

Editing challenges

What a fascinating process this is, reading pages I wrote a year ago or more. I can see how far I've come as a writer through the practice of writing regularly, reading well-constructed stories, and learning about writing technique. Lord knows I've got a lot to learn still, but honestly the end of my novel is written better than the beginning.
That leaves me only one option. Read and edit and rewrite the first half so it's a good as the second half.
Take the opening scene. In my re-write, I cut the word count and the number of characters in half, and the result is more focus and more tension. I also cut (almost entirely) all adverbs, -ing words, and variations on the verb 'to be'.
Early version: I was self-conscious sitting there on stage. Two dozen of us pledges were in full view of Party officers, their stern faces at the front of the packed auditorium.
Current version: We marched on stage and formed a single line. The audience rose. Party officers scrutinized us from the front rows of the auditorium. I focused on the rear wall and ignored my sweaty palms.
So on I go, one scene at a time. The story will be better when I'm done.

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