One Tip to Editing Your Novel

This morning I wanted to write a comment on a post. I was limited to the number of words I could print.

It’s interesting when you have only so many words, how–when you look closely–you can see each as a valuable, or invaluable, player. Your only goal should be to get your message across.

Now think about NaNoWritMo. What’s it all about? Getting the words on the paper!

As you go through your story,  you’ll see extra words you needed in November to make a 50,000 word goal. Now the fluff drags your story down.

Think of story as a beehive. There’s you–the queen. Miss Bossy Boss. There are the worker bees–the strong words that make a sentence hum, that make the work sweet. The drones do nothing. They’re the weak words, the awkward sentences, the junk you added trying to just get an idea on the page so you could reach your word count goal.

(Enough with this bee stuff.)

Now you’re going to do the opposite.

Try this: Limit yourself–sort of like I was limited this morning to only a few words.  Say–I’m cutting 30 words from this page. Then edit to that. Editing is about shaping and plumping thin areas (which means adding, yes), and getting rid of the useless and shaping some more and making each word a worker bee, and, as you go, plucking the wings off the drones. It’s killing your darlings for the sake of the story.

Extra is only better when what you have is a sweet result. Lots of honey is good. That’s not necessarily true when it comes to words.

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1 Comment

Filed under CLW, Revision, writing process

One response to “One Tip to Editing Your Novel

  1. This is one reason I like Twitter (and Twitter pitches). When you only have so much space, every word counts. Great practice.

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