Editing: Ring of (never ending) fire

I am so grateful to have such fantastic online friends who share their tips and knowledge with me. One such awesome dude is Troy Blackford. Troy, an author in his own right, told me about a book called Self Editing for Fiction Writers. I have been going through the book and it really has helped me realize where I am telling instead of showing. Such a crucial part of writing and we’re all guilty of it I’m sure.

For example, here’s a paragraph that I thought was rather fine:

“For a brief moment the light paralyses me and I squint. I don’t recognize the reflection that is my face. Who is this snarling girl. Where the usual smiling teenager Justice St. Michaels is right now, she’s not coming back till this is over. The mirror only confirms what my bloody hand knows; my back is rubbed raw bleeding, again.”

Here’s the same thing re-worked:

“I flip on the light switch and for a brief moment the light paralyses me and I squint. I don’t recognize the reflection that is my face. Widened deep blue eyes staring back at me. Long thick black hair strewn wildly and teeth bared ready to snap. Who is this snarling girl? Where is the usual smiling Justice St. Michaels. The mirror only confirms what my bloody hand knows; my back is rubbed raw bleeding, again.”

I think the second time over I’ve managed to make the sentences flow. I’m sure my editor will have another opinion.

Going over my story chapter by chapter is making me re-think the entire story and I have a feeling this is going to be so painful as I have added 10,000 more words to the word count when I thought I was finished. At this rate, I probably will end up around the 130,000 range. There are parts I’ve deleted and removed entirely from the story as it’s just dead weight that doesn’t contribute to the story.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt it’s kill the dead weight, don’t drag it around, it’s not your friend. If the words don’t add to the story, advance the plot or give perspective – KILL IT WITH FIRE!

It looks like I’ll be in my own Ring of Fire for a while editing and trying not to burn my eyes out. This book ain’t gonna write itself. Ahhh, my eyes hurt just from looking at that sentence. Seriously.

I leave you with the man in black (for you King lovers you’re thinking of the Gunslinger series), Johnny Cash.

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2 thoughts on “Editing: Ring of (never ending) fire

  1. Sometimes its painful…to get that blowtorch out…but you’re right, most times, less is more! It’s a lesson I had to learn too! Keep at it, it’ll just keep getting better! : )

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