“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” -Stephen King, in Writer’s Digest
Sorry, Stephen. I love your stories. But I’ve never had this problem. There’s no fat in my stories to cut in rewrite. They’re lean, mean, and starved for more words.
I am a natural born editor. When I sit down, stare at the cursor on the monitor and plunk my fingers on the keyboard, I will my inner muse to flow. No holds barred. Just barf it out, I urge. Take charge! I command.
Then the trained communicator, the on-message marketer, the skilled grant writer, the keep it simple, short and sweet, concise and diced, in (fill-in-the-blank) words or less scalpel-wielding editor demon rears up and subdues the muse. I write five words and delete three.
Not the ideal way to craft a world populated by compelling characters in conflict that pulls readers in, keeps them turning pages, and leaves them satisfied but wanting to read more in my author’s voice. This painstaking method often slows the first draft process to a frustrating crawl. But it does cut back on second draft editing time and stoke my creative engines to breathe more of life into the fictional flesh.
My rewrites require embellishment. More scenes, descriptions, dialog. More words without needless excess fat to weigh down the storytelling. That challenge tops my list of tips and topics to share during The Editing Process panel discussion at 2 p.m. on Indie Author Day, Saturday, Oct. 14th at the Davenport Library, 321 N. Main Street, downtown in my Iowa hometown.
I invite you to join us. My muse needs a nudge.