Sometimes, the best way to deal with a difficult section in a manuscript is to cut it…

scissorscut

I’ve been stuck on editing one last section in Bald New World for the last month or so. I’m pretty happy with everything else, but this one section just kept on bugging me. I’ve been tweaking, editing, changing, rearranging, and rewriting it continuously. I got it to a point where I could live with it and right before I was about to send off the final manuscript, I asked Angela to take one last look. She agreed, read through it, then said, “Why don’t you just cut out the whole middle of that part?” Now the whole middle she was talking about was one of the first parts I wrote for Bald New World and the idea seemed like sacrilege at first. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought, ok, to be honest, it is still bugging me, so let’s try it. I excised the section, shortening the whole chapter by about half (it’s a short chapter). And I have to say, I feel it works a whole lot better, getting rid of a lot of unnecessary description and getting to the core of what I really wanted to convey. Now, I’m ready to send off for final edits with my publisher. Sometimes, you just need that someone special to tell you, as much as you love it, it just needs to go. I know it’s a cliche that you often have to cut that one section you love the most. In this case, it proved prophetic, ha ha. As writers, one of the toughest challenges is knowing what to keep and what to strip out. You have to almost be ruthless when you approach your own work, putting yourself in the frame of an extremely harsh critic. Or, in other cases, just get people who will be honest with you despite all protestations, ha ha (but it’s my favorite part, essential to the whole plot and setup, I whined). You don’t want to find out something sucks when actual readers point it out to you.

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5 thoughts on “Sometimes, the best way to deal with a difficult section in a manuscript is to cut it…

    • It’s interesting because you’ll know something doesn’t work, but you keep on trying to justify keeping it in and it just takes a third party to tell you what you already know in your gut. Thanks for the comment! =)

      • I had so many problems with my book because it’s based on true events. I wrote quite a lot of detail about conversations I had with certain people. Unfortunately although they meant something to me, they were hampering the flow of the book. It took me a long time to remove them but I did.

        Sounds like you’ve been equally as positive!! Good luck with things

        Arran

      • Thanks for sharing, that must be a lot harder to remove in nonfiction which is something I hadn’t considered. Good luck to you as well and thanks again for stopping by!

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