Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Whole Lot of Cut and Staple

By Nichole Giles

Okay, so I know this is going to sound totally corny. Like, seriously wacko. But. I’m up to my eyeballs in yet another revision of the same manuscript I’ve been tooling with for going on two years now. And this revision involves actual ink and paper, real scissors and a stapler. And giant paperclips.

Don’t ask.

All right. Fine. I’ll tell. See, it’s like this. I have this book. And I know it’s well written, and I know the story is original. But I’ve also known that the beginning was a tad slow. Not that I wanted to change it, mind you. It’s a long story as to why, but I’ve had it in my head that the beginning had to stay, well, in the beginning. Recently, at a conference I heard some words that got me thinking. And then those words were reinforced by a comment made by another writing friend.

The bottom line is, I FINALLY figured out how to fix my beginning, and still keep it as a beginning, but not. Only this idea involved moving a whole lot of scenes around. This is the result.

Looks like a lot, huh? Yeah, that’s only about a third of the book. And because of the magnitude of what I’m doing, printing the physical manuscript was the only way to figure it out. But guess what? While I’m rearranging, I’m also re-reading, and finding more errors and unneeded phrases and words that can be trimmed out. I’m telling you, I’ve been through this manuscript no fewer than twenty-five times already. And that’s a low estimate.

So, for this week, here’s my advice. Go through your manuscript until you’re absolutely positive that it’s ready for submission. Then print it and go through it again. You might be surprised what you find. Oh, and while you’re reading it, do it out loud so your ears can catch what your eyes don’t.

And when you’re done, we can hope together that our manuscripts are finally, really, truly ready.

Until next week, write on.


David J. West said...

Excellent advice Nichole, can't wait to see your stuff when it's in your chosen genre.

Nichole Giles said...

Yeah, me either, David. With like, binding and a cover and everything. =)

Let's hope this edit is the golden one.


Karlene said...

I've done that before. More than once. Good luck. :)

Nichole Giles said...

Thanks, Karlene. I need that luck.


Keith Fisher said...

holy crap! you weren't kidding. One good wind and . . . Anybody seen page 9?

Nichole Giles said...

Keith, there is a fan in my room. I had to unplug it, just to be safe. Did I tell you I ran out of staples AND paperclips? Yeah.

All I can say is, I'm nuts.