Today is a break from mystery and into chick lit/contemporary fiction. I'd like to welcome Victoria Bernadine who has provided a guest post on editing and how hard it is for an author...
The Cutting Room Floor
Good morning! Thanks for hosting me today!
One of the hardest things I have to do is edit a book I’ve written. Other people’s work – no problem! I love telling other people what to do – LOL. My own work, though? A wee bit of a struggle.
Of course, the editing I’m talking about here isn’t the basic stuff: spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I’m talking about that edit where you read the book as a reader and not as a creator.
This is the point in the process when I read the book with an extremely critical eye, and assess each scene and character to determine if they actually serve a purpose in the story. It’s the point where I have to determine the story I really want to tell, and let everything else go.
The end result is, I hope, a better story, but the number of things I’ve had to leave on the cutting room floor over the years is rather heartbreaking, and proof I’m far too easily distracted by shiny things.
A Life Less Ordinary is a prime example of this.
In my first (still incomplete) draft of the book, every person Manny and Zeke meet on their trip had a backstory that was explored in some depth. They all had their own hopes, dreams and purposes in life. I was passionately in love with all of them. They made me laugh, they made me cry, and they made me want to hug them and tell them everything was going to be okay.
But then I put on my Reader Hat, and realized the story I really wanted to tell came to a screeching halt every time I delved too deeply into these minor characters.
I struggled against it, but in the end, I had no choice but to take out my editing scissors and leave these mini-plots on the cutting room floor. I know the story is better for it, and the characters are still in the book, although not as extensively, and I continue to love them passionately…but I do still mourn those scenes. Just a little.
How about you and your readers? Are there scenes or characters you wish you’d kept? Are there books you’ve read where a Reader Hat edit would have been helpful?
Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a “woman of a certain age”. After twenty-something years of writer’s block, she began writing again in 2008. Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody’s guess. She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.
This is Bernadine's first book and she is off to a great start. A story of a woman deciding to change her life, Bernadine has created complicated characters with unique personalities. Manny is likable, a little naive, and the road trip she designs is definitely outside her comfort zone. Zeke, the blogger who forgets to mention to Manny that he is blogging the whole trip and her reactions, is quite the opposite. While they are the focus of the trip, along with Harvey, many other subplots add to the story.
Be sure to enter the Giveaway!!!!