Sunday, June 19, 2011

From the Department of Redundancy Department

One thing I've noticed as I review my writing is all the extra words I include that aren't needed. That's part of the fun (and I'm being sarcastic) of editing.

When I wrote The Hidden Sun, I would fret over sentences and paragraphs as I wrote. I remember there was one line that I just couldn't get to sound good. I got so hung up on it, I started to lose focus on the story. I finally threw my hands up in the air and moved on. When Tristi Pinkston edited the book for its re-release, she masterfully fixed it. Sadly, I don't recall the details aside from just taking out a few words here and there and tada! It flowed very nicely.

The subject this month is really about editing, though I'm taking a bit of a different approach. I've heard from other authors that they suggest to just write the story and then come back to edit it. Some people write and re-write the first chapter over and over and then get frustrated about how slow it is going.

The Hidden Sun was my first book. It took me roughly 5 years from the time I started writing it until the day the first copy was sold. Granted, I was working full time and yadda, yadda, yadda, but still, that's a long time to hold on to a dream.

My second book, The Waxing Moon, came from an idea I got while editing The Hidden Sun. It's done and will hopefully see the light of day within a year's time. The trippy part about The Waxing Moon is that the final version is actually quite a bit different from the first draft. I was shooting for about 100,00 words. When I got to about 65,000, the story was over. So. . .I wrote another 35,000 words and tacked it on the end. My beta readers noticed what I had done right away. The end result? I went back into the original 65,000 words and added some interweaving subplots that enhanced the book--and I think it's much better because of it.

And about those 35,000 at the end that were cut? Let's just say I have a good head start on the third book of the Bariwon series.

In my current work in progress, The Mirror of the Soul, I'm just plowing through the story full steam ahead with the knowledge that I'll be going back to edit, fix, adjust, add, and rewrite what I've done. And isn't it wonderful that writers can do that.

As for the subject of editing and use of redundant phrases, let me end with a few examples:

Advance preview. I guess this means you get to see a preview of something yet to come before someone else?

Over exaggerate. I've used this phrase at least a million times.

Kneel down. Along the same lines of Stand up.

True facts. Very important to use these when writing non-fiction.

Pair of twins. I actually had this on an earlier version of The Hidden Sun.   

So, my final conclusion is that it's absolutely necessary that writers plan ahead to avoid using redundancies.  And when editing, scrutinize in detail the sum total of your redundant words, with your ultimate goal to completely eliminate them from your writing. If you need help, you can always ask a knowledgeable expert.

1 comment:

  1. Great paragraph there. LOL. Good thoughts on editing too. I find myself doing that all the time. I am one who edits as I go, but not enough to stop me from progressing through the story.