"This morning I took out a comma, and this afternoon I put it back again." Oscar Wilde
Revising a novel is hard. It's really really hard*. And what's the hardest part? Besides making myself sit down and turn the laptop on and actually write instead of curling up with a new book from the library or plopping down in front of the tube to watch an episode of Dr. Who. Mmmm, I love Dr. Who. Great show.
I do not like deleting things. Ok. Well, I don't mind deleting really horrible writing and, unfortunately, my manuscript is liberally sprinkled with some pretty bad writing. But it's the good writing, the writing I really really like, the writing which makes writing friends write LOL or HA! in their critiques. It's soooo hard to get rid of it.
"Rewriting is like scrubbing the basement floor with a toothbrush." Pete Murphy
A great on-line friend that I hope to meet in person someday(which might be possible now that she's on a state away!), Rose or olmue for the livejournal set, gave me some excellent advice last week. She shared something learned from Seressima on the Blueboard. She said the first chapter is prime real estate. I love it. Prime Real Estate. She went on to say, (I hope she doesn't mind if I quote her) "And whatever you stick in that spot is a promise to the reader that it will be important."
Oh. Wow. I had to really look at my first chapter. And, snap. I had to Delete. Whole paragraphs! Paragraphs with snark and sass. Have I mentioned how much I love snark and sass?
"The wastebasket is the writer's best friend." Isaac Singer
See in my first chapter I have a bit of a nasty character. She is deliciously wicked and very fun to despise. She is really fun to write about. Really really fun.
BUT she is not in most of the book. She is not a key character. She's simply atmosphere for those first few chapters. She exists soley to make MC absolutely miserable at the beginning of the book. But I was spending so much time on her! And it was funny. But it was also misleading.
*sniff* So, I deleted and deleted and deleted. I salvaged the snark and sass that I could. But some had to go. Although I'm hoping to recycle it into a few of the later chapters.
"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile." Robert Cormier
*Post is best read with a high-pitched whine. Really. Put your back into that whine.