Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cleaning House

My hubby and I spent the majority of our day cleaning in our basement yesterday. We're having some work done down there and needed to get things organized and sorted. As we sifted through the things we've accumulated over the years, we made several piles: trash, recycling, and give away. We accomplished a lot and in the end wound up with three giant bags of trash and an overflowing garbage can, an overflowing recycling bin, and a huge pile for charity.

Looking at the piles lead me to the inevitable writing comparison. Editing is a lot like cleaning the basement.

There's the trash: These are things I get rid of completely from my manuscript. They may be grammatic or spelling errors, plot points that don't make sense, or simply eliminating adverbs or "extra" words to make the writing cleaner.

Then there's the recycling: These are things that don't work where they're at in the story, but can be moved to another place or tweaked a bit to use later.

Finally, there's the give aways: These are things that don't work for this particular story, buy may work in another. Too good for the trash pile, but not quite the right fit for the current plot.

So whatever you may be doing the basement or editing...I wish you a happy and productive day.

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



Cynthia Hernandez / cruizen4u said...

I will remember this story you wrote in your blog for a long time. Why? Because it is by far the most sensible explanation for editing I have read so far. I have been editing my first novel for over a year now. Not quite getting what I should leave or take out. So I got a bright idea and had a few friends read my novel in its entirety (178,00+ words). Then we had a luncheon and the three of them told me what they thought. There were some lulls that I have taken out but still.... Just wanted to thank you for making it all come together so I can take it out of the drawer again and take courage!

Morgan Mandel said...

Please don't remind me of my messy basement, Debra!

Thanks for the great examples, anyway. (g)

Morgan Mandel

Debra St. John said...

Cynthia, Wow...thanks, I'm flattered.

Now, yes, take that novel out of the drawer and "clean it up"! Good luck!

Morgan...ooops, sorry! Definitely didn't mean to remind you of your messy basement.