Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Unexpected Sandwich Filling

There I was, editing along, and I came to one of the scenes that I thought might read too slow and need to be taken out. However, certain aspects of the scene need to be in the story, or else it messes up certain other events, which in turn...well, you get the idea. So I had to ditch part of the scene and keep part of it. Which parts did I keep? The beginning and the ending. But I couldn't just rip out the middle and then put the beginning and ending together like the two heels on a loaf of bread. Two heels doth not a sandwich make. So I needed something in between them to bind them together. I thought on this problem for about two days--days I really couldn't afford to spend not doing any editing. Last night I sat down and worked on line edits on the first part of the scene, which led into new material that completely surprised me.

I didn't know the POV character was going to do what she did! I was writing it and going "WTF?" So now she figures out something that I didn't know she was going to figure out, and surprise, surprise: it actually makes her role just that much more active. But now she not only knows something I didn't know she knew, but she wants to get a message to her people so that they will find out what she knows as well. Problem: I'm not sure how she's going to get this message out. She's not near a body of water into which she can toss a message in a bottle... Oh, wait! I've just figured it out. I know how she does it! Now why didn't I think of that before? Just like that, in the middle of the darned blog, I figured it out. Maybe I should blog more often.

I know that last part was probably incomprehensible to anyone who actually bothers to read this thing, but...let's just put it this way. Eureka! Problem solved. Gotta write; catch you later!

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.