09 August, 2011

Cutting and Sticking

I have reached a milestone in my novel rewrite: the "so-close-to-halfway-I'm-going-to-say-I'm-halfway-just-to-encourage-myself" point. I'm halfway(ish)! It's been pretty plain sailing so far. I've had a bit of fun making things more quirky and adding some neat lines. That's the brilliant thing about writing - unlike all those situation where you wished you had said something wittier/smarter/more poignant and then thought of the perfect retort two hours later, with writing you can go back and say it! Obviously it doesn't do to have your characters come out with perfect one-liners all the time, but one or two thoughtful bits of speech can reveal more about a character than three chapters of watching them faff about (not that my characters do too much faffing - I hope).

The main challenge so far has been to add bits of extra scene-setting (as reccomended in my critique) but not add anything to the word count. Actually, I'm feeling pretty smug as I have cut the word count by about 1100 words so far. However, I have a lot more to stick in later and really don't need the novel to be any longer than it is, so I shall be getting increasingly ruthless from now on. More cutting before more sticking! It's amazing how easy it is to find wasted words (or it is in my writing anyway!) all over the place. Why would I have written,"Rowan reached over and picked up the sword...", when I could have written, "Rowan picked up the sword..."? I confound myself sometimes.

So I have another few chapters before the head-hits-desk bit comes and I have to start re-working sections completely. This week I have done the bit that I always found really depressing to write, but that everyone said was the best bit. Instead of taking me two weeks, it's only taken me two days this time and I actually enjoyed it! Hooray! However, between pages 55 and 160, I had three comments on my critique and they're all positive. Whereas, between pages 160 and 175 I have four comments and they're all... shall we call them 'suggestions for change'. I've just been working on the positive bit and I am rapidly approaching page 160. Probably best you don't ask how it's going for the next week or so...

In brief other news: I am very happy to have received my copy of the anthology and to see that my story is the opening one (and no, it's not alphabetical by author if that's what you're thinking!). I've read the other stories and they're all so different! There are some really good writers in it. I am also only 200 pages away from finishing the epic "A Suitable Boy" and still enjoying it. Happy reading, writing and blogging everyone!


  1. Go that girl! I admire you so much for your perseverance and good humour through the whole process. Ceve

  2. I think you deserve a cup of tea, and quite possibly a cake. Well done, Chloe :) It's really encouraging to hear your progress, and it sounds like you have a lot to work from, and know (more or less) what needs changing.
    It is surprising how much you can find to take out when you're really looking. I kind of love the editing process for that - you feel can find all sorts of different and better ways to say something.
    Best of luck, and no, I won't ask :P I'll assume everything is going perfectly in the next few days...
    Nari X

  3. Mmmm.... cake... now that's an idea.


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