Author Topic: Ive just done a terrible thing  (Read 2904 times)


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Ive just done a terrible thing
« on: March 05, 2009, 12:06:16 PM »
Hi guys

Well some of you know I was trying to get rid of 20K words in my novel. to make it 100K

This afternoon I had a word with my mentor from the Jacqui Lofthouse Literary Consultancy and we discussed the possibility of losing a few chapters!  I was horrified.

After a couple of hours, it all began to make sense.  If I want rid of all these words I have to delete them! 

So I got rid of Chapters1, 2 & 3.  (Ive kept a copy in case it doesnt work) and as an experiment I'm going to print it all out on hard copy and see if I can do without them.  Now I got 102K and something to play with!!  Im going to start the novel at what used to be Chapter 4.  Im changing the format and it should still make sense.

I would never had been able to do just deleting words here and there and getting rid of scenes.  I may even be able to return a couple of deleted scenes now.

Oh God I hope Ive done the right thing.  It feels weird but I have no doubt now that maybe what was a good idea probably isn't necessary.  It would have been fine if I was allowed 120K words, but no way can I manage anything but a major delete

So wish me luck!!

Lin x x x

twisted wheel

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 12:58:16 PM »
i'm right with you lin. i wrote my novel in november and when i started editing i knew that a whole subplot was not working. i dumped 6 chapters. you have to be harsh.

Offline ma100

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 01:01:00 PM »
Sometimes it has got to be done I am afraid.  :)

Offline lesleyslfree

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 01:40:27 PM »
I hope I have that strength when it happens to me! Good Luck!


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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2009, 07:08:32 PM »
Before you dump any of your chapters Id go through you work with a fine tooth comb and get rid of unnecessary or redundant words. Then go through and see if each scene in there further your story or is it in there for fluff. In doing that you may be surprised at how many words you can get rid of. You may also want to print your work out in hard copy and read it to see if you can clean up any of your sentences.  Id defiantly do that before I just chop out any chapters.


Offline Gyppo

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 07:44:02 PM »
Lin, you may be about to discover what many writers and tutors have learned the hard way.  The first chapter, or two, or even three - of a first draft - is often just the writer 'limbering up' and 'getting into their stride'.  By the time they get that far the writer is finding their own 'voice' and writing so much better than when they started.  We nearly all feel the need to explain and set the scene, and it's hard to overcome.

This is even more noticeable when the book has been written slowly over a few years.  The writer matures, both as a writer and a person, and writes differently.

Best wishes, and congratulations on this courageous step.  As you say, you always have the original to fall back on if need be ;-)

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Offline eric

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 11:24:30 PM »
Gyppo is quite right.  I also suggested more or less the same thing in your last thread on this subject, Lin:

Good luck with your new mentor, seems sensible so far.

Offline oliver

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2009, 01:35:29 AM »
Good luck Lin. That must have been very difficult to do even though it must have been necessary. My thoughts are with you.

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Offline Annmarie

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 02:07:52 AM »
Wow! You cut your first three chapters? If I did that...the reader would get whiplash.  :)  Well, it sounds like you're thinking creatively about your story, and that's great. Keep us posted, Lin.
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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 03:00:52 AM »
Ah well I hope I have been clever enough to make the ending work now as well.  I used some of the first chapter (only a teeny weeny bit) at the end.

Gyppo you are correct in fact more than correct you are wonderful darling!!  Every word you said there is exactly what has happened.  Ive been writing this darned novel for three years now!!
If the truth were known I have been writing it for 20 years in my head. 

I have matured gracefully - its my 60th birthday next week!!  and my characters have matured with me.  As we used to say in my job with the learner drivers, this is discovery learning. Get in the car and discover how it works! In the long run the learning becomes deeper than being shown what to do.

Quote from  Wikipedia

Practice in discovering for oneself teaches one to acquire information in a way that makes that information more readily viable in problem solving" (Bruner, 1961, p.26). This philosophy later became the discovery learning movement of the 1960s. The mantra of this philosophical movement suggests that we should 'learn by doing'.

Discovery learning takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his own experience and prior knowledge and is a method of instruction through which students interact with their environment by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments.

I feel sad and good all at the same time, so Im going out for lunch to celebrate with a friend who was born three days before me and is the same age. I need a glass of wine!  I spent 9 hours writing yesterday!

Bye bye for now and thanks guys and gals.

Lin x

Offline nswperson

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2009, 04:07:12 AM »
Good luck.  I hope you are on a winner.
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Offline dynodreamer

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Re: Ive just done a terrible thing
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2009, 08:34:37 PM »
It kinda  makes you question how much trust you should have in the writing muse somehow. To just dump chapters like that is to lose information, but I'm  discovering as to which way to form tie ins from one forward movement to a the next movement changes content and story. Not a bad thing. I guess you gotta trust you're discovering the REAL story you were supposed to write with the whole exercise.the trick is not to get too attatched to the direction ... and change with the tides that be. Maybe the use of flashbacks as a mainstay shouldn't be shunned?
The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there isnt any - Yogi Berra
[Ask a Doctor when he feels he might quit practicing Medicine and work on theory!]