Editing - You Are Allowed To Cut That...

Last night as I edited a weak moment in my story, I tried everything to make it work.  Extra detail here, foreshadowing all the way back there... But the more I tried, the less satisfied I felt.  My gut instinct was not a happy one.

Then I remembered I could just cut it and boom! Problem solved! Gut instinct happy once again!

Somehow, I forget I can just delete stuff and write something new during early edits. Maybe it's because I'm still too attached to what I wrote and I haven't fully switched into Edit Mode when I can cut without a moment's hesitation.  As soon as I make that transition, I can stop with all the editing gymnastics I've been pulling off and go for the easier option - cut what doesn't work and replace it with something better.

It should be a golden rule pinned above my desk.  DELETE WHAT DOESN'T WORK! DON'T BEND THE WHOLE PLOT OUT OF SHAPE FOR ONE DETAIL!

It looks beautiful, but let's be honest, walking would be easier

How about you? Ever find yourself pulling off a backflip with half-twist in order to edit something when what you really need to do is delete it?

Comments

  1. I have just started first round edits on a story and I am totally struggling with the same thing, trying to work out what I should keep and what I can just cut. This post was really great :) Totally gonna write that golden rule on a post-it and stick it to my laptop :P

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    1. Sounds like a great idea. Constant reminders can be useful!

      Delete
  2. "DON'T BEND THE WHOLE PLOT OUT OF SHAPE FOR ONE DETAIL!" Oh my gosh, yes. Such great advice. I can't even count how many times I've tried to do this and ended up banging my head against the wall because of all the other problems it created. Then I'd sit back and go "wait a minute..." and realize the one detail wasn't all that important, or I'd forget why I was so determined to keep it in the first place. I think sometimes we get so immersed in our own stories that we can't see which way is up. This is definitely a great reminder to become friendly with that delete key. :-)

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    1. Exactly! Sometimes we need to take a step back and get a little perspective...

      ...and that usually happens after I've added in an extra thousand useless words :P

      Delete
  3. Wow, I can totally relate to this. My attachment to certain details borders on ridiculous sometimes (and I'm way too fond of adjectives). I think it's often because I love how something sounds, and I was so excited to find the "perfect" wording, but that doesn't mean it accomplishes what it's supposed to in the story. I'm slowly getting better at hacking things out when they aren't necessary instead of trying to work around them. It still always takes me forever to get to that point though. I love your gymnastics analogy and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who does this!

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    1. Sometimes I love a single sentence of an image sooooo much I try everything to keep it in until admitting deletion is the best course of action.

      Delete
  4. Being able to cut words without fear is so freeing! I don't know how I managed before I realized it. Such a good post. ^^

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    1. Me neither, and the realisation is like this great big sigh of relief!

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  5. I've found that I am the exact opposite. I'm too at ease with deleting. It doesn't help the word count though. I get to the end of a project and more words are cut than have been written

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    1. That sounds like a helpful ability to have :)

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    2. Sometimes but I wish I was more attached to my words.

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  6. This: DON'T BEND THE WHOLE PLOT OUT OF SHAPE FOR ONE DETAIL!

    So much this.

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    1. Definitely need it on a poster ;)

      Delete

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