e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

  • Music:

Nose to the Grindstone: Cutting words?

So I set out this morning to finish dealing with nits one of the alpha readers sent me, and then start cutting.    Snip, snip, snip, I thought.  

And I did snip some words.  But unfortunately....I needed add some, too.  In places, I'd left a useful word out completely (like the direct object, or even the verb...)  and the alpha reader had pointed out rough transitions, places where she got confused, etc.   Might as well fix those, right?  Get all that out of the way and then snip, snip, snip. 

At the end of the day's work, I checked the word count--how much did all that snippage accomplish?  A paragraph here, a paragraph there, half a sentence here, tightening things there, snipping "the" in several places,  spotting and removing the "fake" active verbs (usually 2-3 words) and replacing them with single active verbs...all that adds up, right?

Yes...in the wrong direction.  It's now 500 words *longer* than it was in the morning.   

I'm now spending Tree to get a hard copy I can scrawl on, and flip pages back and forth of (yes, those prepositions are taildraggers.   I'm with Churchill on that one.)   Having done the link-up, it makes no sense for me to do revisions on the individual chapters--and the monster is so big that finding things in it--if I don't already know whether they are--is very difficult and takes time I need to spend on finding places to do surgery.

Aside from failure at shortening the beast, I'm finding things to fix--a good sign.   The bits that are uneven, "sludgey", awkward, sketchy, etc. are sticking out more as I  have a more relaxed schedule and I'm not first-drafting at top speed.  (At top speed, the story roars out, uncontrollable and unfiltered.   This leads to gaps and overlaps both, as well as many-many typos of all sorts.)    The longer it's been since I wrote a section, the more clearly I can read it as a reader, and compare my reader-sense of it to what I wanted it to accomplish.

Tags: the writing life

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