Sunday, December 27, 2009

Untill it shines. . .

One thing that some writers need to learn is that when in the revision and editing process there is a point where if you do any more revisions,your going to lose your voice. Or that editing it over and over is actually destroying the story.

In my opinion, you can only cut out so many words and add so many things and change the sentences around so many times before it all starts to sound like drivel.

For example I have sent a few of my first chapters out for critiques for the LDStorymaker Writers Conference First Chapter Contest. One of the stories was wordy and I spent some time revising those sentences so they read better.

The origional sentence read:

I could tell that my avoidance of the subject was garnering me unwanted attention from the man who held my existence in his hands.

I revised the sentence to read:

I could tell I was garnering unwanted attention from the man who held my existence in his hands.

See, less wordy and reads better, While still getting the message across. However I could have been tempted to revise the sentence again to look like this:

I was getting unwanted attention from him.

Sure it's cleaned up and nice and precise, but I have lost my voice by cutting it too much. There is a point in which we need to turn off the internal editor and close the notebook or word program. Is that story perfect? I don't believe it is, but at least it still has voice.

There's a time where we have done everything we can to a MS and it's time to put it away and start sending it out into the world. Time to let your MS stand on it's own two legs and be what it was meant to be.

While a shiny new car is nice to drive, the older car you have driven for years, has character.


L.T. Elliot said...

This is so true. You literally can edit a piece to death. Great post!

Iapetus999 said...

I'm really concerned about my voice. I have no idea what I'm going to do when it's time for line edits.
Here's an example:

Prudencia placed the box down, tiring of this juvenile discourse. "You shall allow me to pass and fulfill my commerce with the proprietor of this establishment, or you shall be dispatched henceforth into a lavage of mire in yon boulevard."

I don't even want to touch that. She likes to talk all high-and-mighty. I guess I could come up with more obscure words...

Noble M Standing said...

Iapetus, I have to laugh, my MC used to talk all formal no contractions and really wordy. I had to tone him down and add contractions. I still sometimes miss them and my editor chatches them. I have to revise sentences because he still comes across as too formal sometimes.

At least it tells you that your character is developed in your head.:) your definately staying true to character to be able to write like that.

However if you are writing fantasy then this kind of dialogue might be passable. Still, you might want to take a few words out here and there.

Iapetus999 said...

Of course it works a little better with the line that follows:

The men stood silent. "What the heck did she just say," asked the large one.

M. Gray said...

So, so true. I've been concerned about the same thing as my novel is undergoing extreme edits. I HAVE been so amazed at how a couple of pairs of extra eyes can help me say the things I meant to say all along. But I hear you. Here's hoping my story doesn't become a mess of pulp after the poundings of a merciless meat grinder!

Noble M Standing said...

I think it all comes down to trusting your gut. Asking yourself if this looks, sounds good, does it work, is it clear?

Then of course the willingness to just let it go at some point in time.