17 January 2011

Snip Snip SNIP

Editing can be a never-ending process.  No matter how many times I read and correct a piece, I will on a re-read spot an extraneous word, or think of a cleaner expression.  It makes re-reading any of my released books an occasionally teeth-grinding process.

"Stray" poses additional challenges, as I wrote the first draft in a casual mode quite different from my usual work.  I've already done two end-to-end edits, one focusing on consistency and the other to remove ten thousand examples of my writing tics.  This edit I'm focusing on pace - which usually means cutting entire sentences and paragraphs because I've been repetitive, or over-explained.  I keep putting myself in the reader's shoes and trying to spot when I would start skipping text or thinking "bored now".

Diary is an especially difficult format to maintain urgency or interest.  Inevitably most entries are "tell" not "show", and there is a lessened drama to any "they could die" situation if the reader knows that the person in danger is subsequently writing about the events in their diary.  The opening of Stray is even more challenging because Cass is alone, not bouncing off other personalities.

Obsessively revising and re-revising the first twenty pages of Stray means my publishing timeframe is beginning to slip, but I'm beginning to be satisfied with where it's at.

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