Thursday, February 17, 2005

Starvation and Editing

So what have I been doing between the end of January and now? Um, let's see. Editing. Editing. Losing 6 pounds. Barely keeping up with the mom scene. Editing. Exercising--at least a little. Running here, running there, trying to keep up with my writing, my life, my kids, my house--well, what can I say about the house? It's bigger than the last one, right? So there should be a lot less clutter in it, right? Yeah, right. Just as soon as I finish editing my book, I'll edit the clutter.

Editing. It's amazing. I've trimmed excess off myself and the book at the same time, but of course that means that most of the time when I'm not playing referee (mom, that is) I'm either editing or eating. Yep, that's right, eating. This new diet is the one where you have to eat the right kinds of foods to get your body to burn fat. Turns out I was starving myself and didn't even know it. I wasn't eating enough protein, so my body was burning that for fuel and packing on weight that I didn't need because it thought that we were going through a famine. (Pasta, chocolate, carbs galore and we were going through a famine?? Sheesh.) I always thought that if you were starving yourself, you'd look anorexic. But no, apparently that just isn't the case--at least with my body type. So now I have to eat like a bodybuilder (which is essentially what I'm doing--building muscle--which in turn burns fat.) Every two to three hours, I'm eating. If I were able to write as often as I have to eat, I'd have all the edits done by now and have written at least a third of the next book to boot.

This book is going well, though. I'm not getting though the edits as quickly as I'd like, but I am getting through them. This book is turning out to be a lean, mean, fighting machine. Every scene that could possibly be ditched has been. I threw out one entire plotline, streamlined some others, ditched anything that seemed like it might have slowed the story down, and yikes! Fasten your seatbelts. We're screaming down the road now. When this editing/diet is done, the book and I both ought to be about as fit as anyone could hope for.

And the writing point is...? I think that just as I was starving myself and not knowing it, when I first began writing this book I was starving the plot as well. Because initially I was afraid of not having enough material, I packed on a lot of carbs (unnecessary scenes) to flesh the book out. When the book ended up too heavy and had to be edited, I realized that what I needed was to find out what the real muscle of the story was and develop it enough that I could lose all the unnecessary extra words I packed on in case of plot famine.

I'm not sure whether I recommend dieting and editing at the same time, but I know this for sure--it does eliminate the problem of how to get the potato chip shards out of your keyboard.

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