Monday, March 23, 2009

When it is Time to Say Good-bye

One thing that makes writers very special is that we find analogies everywhere. The other day I found one in my refrigerator stored in airtight tupperware:



As I cleaned out my fridge and stacked my leftovers on the countertop, my mind naturally turned to my manuscript. (And I don't really take pictures of leftovers, just if it makes for a good blog discussion.) I hate tossing leftovers. I spent time and tears and sweat (well maybe not tears) preparing those meals. But in the end, even the best of leftovers must be sent down the garbage disposal.

I changed the beginning of my novel, and ever since I did this I have known that a few thousand words will have to go. Only I'm not prepared to send them down the garbage disposal yet. Some of the words are so pretty, and plus, it boosts my word count.

However, tonight is the night. I'm going to do it. I have held onto you long enough, and now it's time to say good-bye.

14 comments:

  1. Cutting hurts. I recently cut 10k from one of my manuscripts. OUCH. But I do know the book is better for it. Go you! Use that delete button.

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  2. I probably cut 20-30 thousand words from my first book! I have literally deleted 3 chapters at once! It was awful, but liberating at the same time, and I know my book is so much better than if I had gone in and tried to make those scenes work when they really didn't.

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  3. When I have to cut words, I am reminded of what my mother tells me every October:
    "Get out there and trim the stupid hedges or you won't be able put up the Halloween decorations!"
    Writing translation:
    "Get to your laptop and cut those words or you won't be able to turn your story into something completely kick butt!"

    Still, I hate cutting words...it's like, NOOOO! It'll cut down my word count so much!! Nooo!!! They're pretty, lovely, amazing words!
    But in the end everything turns out even more pretty, lovely and amazing, so it's all good.

    Good luck with trimming your own novel!

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  4. One thing different than a garbage disposal is that you can save what you throw away in a different file and it won't smell a year from now.

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  5. Jessie, I save my book by revisions. So I do have a draft with the old material in it. Hehe, yeah, I don't think I could permanently delete.

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  6. I'm the same as Natalie. I save a new draft when I do anything drastic. My first book has at least 20 versions saved.

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  7. Wow, 20 versions of your book. From the first to the last version, would you say they are very different books?

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  8. ACK! Hang in there! Squeeze your eyes shut and let it go... At least that's what I do now. Of course a year ago, when I was writing my first book I saved EVERYTHING in a folder with that book. LOL! It's good though, to let go of excess baggage the whole story will be better for it! Even though I don't envy you! Jenni

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  9. How's the cutting going? I've been doing a lot of the same. My ms is at 85K down from 115K. It was such a carnage around here for a while. There are some chapters I wish were still there, but they had to go. You have to do what's best for the story. I still need to slice another 5K off if I can. We'll see. Part of the problem now is when I cut a thousand I add a different thousand. Sigh! Thanks for stopping by my digs and letting me know you're out here.

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  10. So hard, isn't it? Every time I whine to my husband about cutting things I like, he intones, "Kill your darlings", which is only moderately helpful but makes him feel very clever. The one thing that helps is that I have a file just for pieces I've cut from a particular novel. I console myself with the thought that I can always go back and retrieve the pieces later, either for this book or for another one. I never do, but sometimes it's nice to tell yourself white lies if they help you get the job done.

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  11. Lotus-Wow, 115K. My manuscript cowers before yours.

    Caryn-It's nice that we can help our husbands feel clever, even though we know that they can never be as clever as us:)

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  12. ewww. Don't remind me that along with editing I need to clean out my fridge.

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  13. Ha, I'd much rather be editing.

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