Thursday, February 10, 2011

Red Ink Blues

Now that I've eliminated my intrusive voice, coaxed the plots and subplots to play nicely together, gotten control of pacing, and overcome my hesitance with love scenes, it's time to complete the set of revision artifacts (outline and scene notes) for moving the plots toward their climaxes. I was very excited about getting to this point - until I saw that I have to say goodbye. Bid farewell to the pieces of story that don't belong.

It barely matters how much I love them. It matters less that they're witty conversations, scenes of poignant character bonding, or beautifully detailed descriptions. These snippets aren't like the long stretch of exposition I got rid of earlier. Putting that on the chopping block was easy. These are little islands of artfulness that I had thought would make interesting reading. I am reluctant to pick up the red pen and eliminate them. But no matter how long I procrastinate, whine, or otherwise behave badly; they have to be cut. Maybe I'll get a chance to use them in other stories, but they have to come out of this one.

Having learned that timing is everything, I now easily see that these showy bits of fluff are mucking it up. They're too costly - slowing down and confusing the story; sabotaging my ability to sustain tension and suspense. Packed into the next forty eight hours of the escalating action plot are several loud arguments, at least two fights and a murder. I really love the sweeping panoramic description of Skye Pointe, but no time for it. Gone. Then there's the scene showcasing the research I'd done on six-man yachting. I am extremely proud of it, but the action has to keep moving. It's out. Ditto for the beautifully detailed description of the hero's family estate. Doesn't really fit in the middle of a fight. Axed. Next up is the trip to the museum. Wait a minute... That's important to the story line. Have to keep that one!


#ROW80 update, 02/13/2011:
  • Goal 1: From Chapter 14, both plots begin the spiral up to their climaxes. I had to make some adjustments to focus them. In spite of the scene cutting I did, I ended up with an additional chapter. So even though I finished Chapter 14, there are still 6 more to go! Crazy that I cut scenes and end up with more...
  • Goal 2: There were only 3 days that I was able to spend 3 hours. I only managed an hour here and there the other 4 days. I need to do better this week.
  • Goal 3 -Still posting!
Hope everyone is having a better time of it.


  1. Love your commitment to the red pen! I like your take on 'ruthless' mode, and the story probably likes it too. I love looking at the creative process, and now I'm also a little concerned at the 'intrusive voice'...better follow your link to see what is up with that!

    Seems like I have a lot to learn!!! Have a great weekend, and thanks for the post :-)

  2. Thank you - glad you liked it. I'm learning too and this blog is a record of my journey.

    Just passed my one year blogging anniversary on 1/31. Decided to go back and read some of my earlier posts. Though I didn't mean them to be, some are hilarious, as in "can't believe I said that". :-D

  3. Ah, I love those "little islands of artfulness" so very much, it is hard to let them go. Maybe you can save one or two...LOL

    Hang in there.

    Here's my ROW 80 CHECK-IN

  4. Those scenes might get chopped but they'll live on on your hard drive. Well done for being so ruthless.

  5. oh the sorrow of losing the carefully crafted words - maybe one day they will sparkle in a brand new creation - well done for ruthless editing

  6. Mourn briefly and then make way for new islands of artfulness. (Beautifully put, btw.)

  7. Glad you were able to red pen the stuff you needed. I hang onto them in my drafts folder, just in case - it's the only way I have the courage to cut them in the first place.

  8. That hour here and there--hate that, but sometimes there's no choice. Maybe our life will settle one day where this is all we do? At least not in my world. I'd create chaos if there was none. ;)

    Well, here's to a good ROW80 week!

  9. I commented here earlier but I think I must have clicked out before the code thingy showed up. I have a feeling I do that regularly, sorry. *Rolls eyes at own stupidity*

    I forget what I said now but good luck next week!

  10. I've kept the scenes in my "Saved" folder. Cutting is hard, but I think I've done the right thing. Thanks for all the encouragement!

  11. You reminded me of Michelangelo...

    Sort of...

    His talking about seeing a statue in a hunk of stone and only needing to remove the parts that didn't belong.

  12. :-D Nice comment, Alexander. Thanks. Michelangelo removed the right parts. Sure hope that's what I'm doing.


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