Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Still. Fricking. Editing.

It's one thing to write. To just pump out those words everyday. It's quite another to have to read the atrocious swill you churn out and try and make it presentable. I know at least one beta reader is waiting for her copy (Hi Grace!) but it looks like the editing is going about as fast as the writing went. Well, slower, actually. Around 2000ish words a day, every other day or so.

It's a bit of a shock to get to some scenes and find they need almost a complete rewrite. Sure, it's a pleasure to get to a scene that just flows, but those are few and far between. To add insult to injury, all of these scenes have already been edited at least once. Ugh!

Oh yeah, I got my article all printed up nice and purdy on the department news letter. That was exciting. Very very first article printed. Evar!

I'm also working on some short stories. That's a tough go. Hard to trim down a story to be interesting as well as have suitable pace for 2-15,000 words.

Uhm, sorry about no entertainment on this blog post. Er. Uhm. Feeling the pressure to do a little song and dance here. How about I show you how I edit a piece. I'll keep it short.

In general, you want to clarify and pare down. The rule is 10% cut per edit.

So here is a scene in Chapter 13, from 430 words to 380. Hopefully you, the reader, can tell the difference.

BEFORE

Of all the minor annoyances Harold had to endure, this was the one he hated the most. Informing - The - Would - Be - Supreme - Evil - Ruler - That - Their - Best - Laid - Plans - Had - Hit - A - Snag. Luckily, he was only a contract worker for this Would Be Evil Ruler, otherwise, Harold would be buying some Violent and Inexplicable Death Insurance that were all the rage with henchmen and sidekicks the world over.
Edward's lip quivered, "This.. Insatiable, that can't be the one of legend. The one with the.. the.. soap named after it?"
"The very one!" Harold liked to remain chipper during these tasks. No need to let his employer know just how much danger their plans were in. He bared his teeth in the most convival way he could think of, "That's just a tale though. To keep dairy farmer's children in line! The very thought of a cheese pirate being mad and powerful enough to take on a small city! It's, it's pure fantasy. This is what Maarea told me, I'm only the messenger" Harold wondered if his theory on the relative safety of contract evil doers was sound. Edward was no strong man by any leap of the imagination, even an alcohol induced one, even an alcohol and hallucinegenic mushroom induced stretch of the imagination, not even a an alchohol and mushroom induced, look - that - guy - is - totally - staring - you - down - and - calling - in - question - your - sword - play - abilities - you - can - totally - take - him - and - his - battallion - of - ogre - friends stretch of the imagination. In short, Edward was a weak man, even his sense of smell was stronger than his brawn. But that didn't stop him from being a very real menace to Harold. Brawn, in his experience, had nothing over a sly understanding of poisons, a will to do evil consistently, and an evil cackle that could freeze the blood.
Edward cackled evilly freezing Harold's blood. He stopped himself, and looked around his office (this didn't take long, as Edward's office was a repurposed chamber pot closet). Dumb dumb dumb. He should never let his evil cackle of eventual worldwide oppression (and yes, the slow torture and killing of Xor), be revealed at work. As far as everyone was concerned, Lord Ablequarm, Gregor, even Xor, he was a bumbling, forgetful clerical fool with no ambition at all. Well, he would show them, he had ambition. Great gobs of it. Great heaping sloppy ambitiony gobs of it!
"How could this happen? What a utterly random event to put a hamper on my plans. I have no time for this. Did you not see them on the Plains of Light and Magic? They are all here. On time. Bloody well always on time. Can't even be late for The Faire, can they? My plans MUST be into play before they get here!"




AFTER:
Harold hated informing the Would Be Evil Ruler that their Best Laid Plans had Hit A Snag. Luckily, he was only on contract with Edward, otherwise he would have to buy some "Violent and Inexplicable Death" Insurance that was all the rage with henchmen.
Edward's lip quivered, "This.. Insatiable, that can't be the one of legend. The one with the.. the.. soap named after it?"
"The very one!" Harold liked to remain chipper when breaking the news. No need to get his employer more nervous and uppity. He bared his teeth in the most convival way he could manage. "That's just a tale though. To keep dairy farmer's children in line! The very thought of a cheese pirate being mad and powerful enough to take on a small city! It's, it's pure fantasy."
And with that, Harold flapped away into the night.
Flying safely in the night are, Harold wondered if his theory on the safety of contract henchmen was sound. Edward was no strong man by any stretch of the imagination, even an alcohol induced one, even an alcohol and hallucinegenic mushroom induced one, even an alchohol and mushroom induced, look - that - guy - is - totally - staring - you - down - and - questioning - your - sword - play - abilities - you - can - totally - take - him - and - his - ogre - friends stretch of the imagination.
In short, Edward was a weak. But that didn't mean he was wasn't dangerous. Brawn, in Harold's experience, was nothing compared to a sly understanding of poisons, a penchant for evil, and a blood freezing cackle.

Edward laughed a blood freezing cackle. He stopped himself, and looked around his office. Dumb dumb dumb. He should never let his evil cackle of eventual worldwide rule be revealed at work.
As far as everyone was concerned - - Lord Ablequarm, Gregor, even Xor - - he was a bumbling, forgetful clerical fool with no ambition at all. Well, he would show them, he had ambition. Great gobs of it. Great heaping sloppy ambitiony gobs of it!
Edward thought about The Snag he had hitm and muttered under his breath, "How could this happen? What a utterly random event to put a hamper on my plans. I have no time for this. Just look at the Plains of Light and Magic. They are all here. On time. Bloody well always on time. Can't even be late for The Faire, can they? My plans MUST be into play before they get here!"

3 comments:

The Nighthawk said...

Thanks for the example J! The second one flows MUCH better. Though I must say I liked Harold being in the room for the blood freezing cackle in the pre-edit version.

Grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Grace said...

You are a tease! Apologies if I caused you so much extra work, but I am eager to read it. Even unedited. And that little bit does have some of your usual wit, even if it's not so obvious. Hang in there!