By the Wind Grieved

By the Wind Grieved
“O lost, And by the wind grieved, Ghost, Come back again.” Thomas Wolfe

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

More Revisions or Trimming Down the Fat Baby Manuscript

So, I have a manuscript. I feel elated. I have indulged in the euphoric glow of motherhood. Now, the novelty of new birth fading in the face of new tasks, I am taking a look at my red-face, squalling newborn with a critical eye. Arrggghhh! How did the bairn get so fat?

I have blogged about the revising process in my last couple of posts. I am on my seventh round, trimming it down to a word count that will not spell death in the query letter. It is humbling and rewarding at the same time to go through the manuscript line by line and identify all those meaningless phrases or tedious repetitions or even whole scenes that do not move the story along its narrative, thematic arc.

Plodding along in this tedious task, I came across another guide to revising that I found on a blog called Books are Bread. I thought I had culled my manuscript of pointless expressions (sort of, at one point, etc.) but this new list provided more ammo in my battle with mediocre writing. (Shocking how many times I used the modifier "really.") Check it out for a useful checklist.

Now, having shaved off yet another 5000 words, I am ready to meet with my client to go another round. I will also dare to suggest the elimination of an entire chapter…heaven help me! But, as I have learned, the writing is one thing; the craft of writing is another. And that craft is revealed not in the first ecstatic outpouring, but in her drab, little cousin, the rewrite...who (it is to be hoped) turns out to be Cinderella in the end.