Friday, March 11, 2016
The writing process is at times fun, imaginative, exciting and other times tedious, confusing, and complex. Please forgive this blog and other posts because editing is not my strong suit. Just like in my life, I speak and do before thinking and reflecting. I usually have to go back in and adjust a comment or something I've written because I just write and get down what I want to say quickly. I'm not a planner, and I'm not methodical, I just do.
This hasty action caused some issues in my latest book. I've spent the last year writing, rewriting, adjusting, editing, rereading, more editing, until finally I was sick of it and wanted to move on. I have some close family and friends read it and then made preparations for it be edited professionally. A few weeks ago after reading and listening to some successful writers, I jettisoned a page and a half of background information. The advice by the pros was to trickle in background information and definitely don't do a flashback in the first chapter.
I'd committed both those sins. Early in the process, I'd moved the flashback to the end of the first chapter instead of the beginning. I had a hard time cutting any of it because it was so emotional for my character and me as I wrote it. I loved the scene. But then two weeks ago, after the pros advice, I cut it to about two paragraphs and move some of the details later in the story.
I had one of my best readers reread the book before I publish and I got a call late at night with her frustrated and upset with me. Where was the flashback, where was the background scene? She wanted to know. Although I hated that I had taken out the scene, I loved hearing how passionate and invested with the character my reader was and how she was fighting for the character's background story to be included so my character's story could be better understood. It made me love writing even more. I understand the love and passion because I've felt it as a reader. I felt it writing the book. It is first-person POV, and I inhabited my characters and felt their pain and giddiness. It was an awesome ride.
I also love that despite the thousands of words I cut from the book it doesn't mean they are gone. So much of what I cut is still part of the character, it just didn't make it in the book. The characters are alive to me, and I hope I was able to make them come alive for my readers.