Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Saga Continues- Part II

I have not kept up with my blog as much as I would like to, but only because I have been spending an inordinate amount of time editing my novel. As of today, I have about 55,300 words edited. What this means is that I have taken away and added paragraphs and pages, (it was heartbreaking discarding those brilliant sections that had little to do with the story), found incorrect punctuation, and sentences where I used one word when I meant to use another. However, my biggest chore during this edit is to tighten those sentences up.


What does sentence-tightening entail? It means using a whole lot less words to convey my meaning. This is not from my novel, but it is a great example:


Wordy: She went to the car, opened the door, and got into the driver’s seat.

Better: She slid into the driver’s seat.


Such a short simple sentence to convey the same meaning.


Words are important in writing, because every genre of short story of novel has a word count range. In order to increase our chances of selling our work, we must follow the publisher guidelines. We must make every single word count.


I find editing like eating healthy and exercising. If I eat the right foods and run four times a week, I get the physical results I want. Well, if I write tight and make every single word count, then I know I have turned out the best product I can. Perhaps the next step will be to catch an agent’s eye, with the grand finale being publication.


Now, it’s time to go for my run and then edit my novel. Happy writing all!

6 comments:

Janine said...

I love your analogy to health and exercise. I've never thought of editing like that :-)

My "diet secret" for editing is to use the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It finds those fat and flabby bits of writing in an instant. It makes editing so much easier :-)

Susan Littlefield said...

Hi Janine,

I tried Autocrit once, but I don't like it at all. I would rather edit my work using my own skills. Believe me, once you've edited enough, those repetitive words and sentences jump out quickly, and you learn how to turn your high calorie writing into low fat writing! However, to each their own. I'm glad the program works for you!

What are you writing, Janine.

tdkerst said...

I like your health analogy too, Susan. So true. Have you read William Zinsser's book ON WRITING WELL? Though it's a guide to writing non-fiction, it's the best guide to writing economically and to editing effectively that I've ever seen. His best sections are on "Clutter" and "Simplicity." Reading your comment about making every word count, I'm reminded of Mark Twain's statement that the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Susan Littlefield said...

Hi Tolkerst,

I have not read On Writing Well, but it sounds like a great book to have. I am always looking for ways to tighten my writing and make every word count. Along that line, another great book is Make Every Word Count by Gary Provost. It was published thirty years ago, but the advice within still holds true today.

Kerry Wood said...

Just curious. I left you a lengthy response 4 or 5 days ago and can't find it. Did you ever get it?

Susan Littlefield said...

Kerry,

I did get your response under "Query Weary," and commented on it as well. It's there, my friend!

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