Author Topic: The harshness of it all....  (Read 2989 times)

guitarbabe

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The harshness of it all....
« on: February 06, 2006, 10:53:25 AM »
Okay, so you all know the size of a manuscript that you can get away with (90,000-120,000)--and at this point it's my bane (did I even spell that right?)!!!

Does anyone else have my same problem? Do you have any tips to cut down that longwindedness?

Anyhoo, I've just found a really good writer's tip website, it's www.hollylisle.com/fm/Workshops/one-pass-revision.html and I'm seriously going to use it.

Because my answer I generally get back from my queries is that my ms are WAY TOO LONG!

Well, basically this site (and it goes into a lot of detail that I'm not going to get into right now because I get to go to work, yay) gives you some really good tips on how to cut that darn ms down.

You've got to be harsh, cruel, have nerves of steel, but you basically have to write down your themes and sub themes and if you have anything in that ms that doesn't fit, you throw it out. Each scene has to be vital to the plot and have some rising action, some element of interest...if it doesn't throw it out. It talks about getting rid of characters even, too much description, greetings, starting at the action.

Divide your ms into three different piles (edited pile, pile that you've been through, but needed no edits, and pile yet to be edited). It helps to keep a notebook, so you can keep track of what you edited, things added, questions that were never answered.

It was technical, but pretty fun technical stuff. Now, I just have to get my nerves of steel and go at it.
"You’ve got more issues than National Geographic!"

"You’re like a soggy brown banana, the only use for you now is to get cooked."

www.stephaniefowers.com

Tink

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Re: The harshness of it all....
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2006, 01:19:55 PM »
I think that this site gives great advice on how to edit your manuscript. I'm not much of a writer (I used to write a little, but I was never really serious about it), but as an editor I can see how I can use this same advice in helping to decide how to critique a manuscript, so I can give more concrete comments on how to improve. Thanks for sharing this info!

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: The harshness of it all....
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2006, 02:04:08 AM »
How long do your MS run? Can you easily chop them into thirds?
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

guitarbabe

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Re: The harshness of it all....
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2006, 10:52:53 AM »
That's a good point. I'll look at it.
"You’ve got more issues than National Geographic!"

"You’re like a soggy brown banana, the only use for you now is to get cooked."

www.stephaniefowers.com

Peter Ahlstrom

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Re: The harshness of it all....
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2006, 12:09:45 AM »
Lois McMaster Bujold just wrote a book she had to chop in half. Books tend to go sort of naturally into thirds though (beginning, middle, end) which is where trilogies come from--though the individual books are usually better if you start out knowing each part will be separate. It's harder to split a book up afterward, but if it's what you need to do it can be worth it!
All Saiyuki fans should check out Dazzle! Emotionally wrenching action-adventure and quirky humor! (At least read chapter 6 and tell me if you're not hooked.) Volume 10 out now!

Robert_Boyd

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Re: The harshness of it all....
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2006, 06:59:41 AM »
That was an awesome link.  I think I'm going to try it on my next (well, my first) book. :)

JenaRey

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Re: The harshness of it all....
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2006, 02:44:13 PM »
Steven King defined the need to trim a manuscript as Murdering Your Darlings.  In his On Writing book he says to just write the dumb thing.  Then edit knowing you'll add about a quarter more to it.  Then go through and kill about a third.  That's the manuscript you should then be sending out.

His book is very helpful if you can get your hands on a copy.

~J
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