Here’s today’s guest blogger D.V Stone with why the delete button is a good thing…
Shakespeare said in Merchant of Venice, “All that glitters is not gold.” Unfortunately, for an author, neither are all your words.
Many people think editing is chasing down grammar and punctuation issues. That’s true, but editing a novel is so much more. Often, it’s like pruning a tree or a bush.
My husband has a love-hate relationship with a Holly bush in front of my house. For years he’s tried trimming it to keep it under control. This past spring he’d had enough. Grabbing his saw, he went to the ground and cut it down. Funny thing, a couple of weeks later green started sprouting from the stump. Now he is carefully trimming to keep it from becoming an overpowering entity it once was. Not only is the Holly healthier so are the plants around it.
In a rush of emotion, words pour over the page often in an unruly fashion. Cohesion and logic take a back seat to growth. Once you take a step back, the delete key becomes your surgical scalpel and critique partners your nurses.
Editing used to be my arch nemesis, but over the years I’ve come to that same love/hate relationship as Pete and his Holly bush. Sometimes my work is overwrought and drastic steps need to be taken. Superfluous words need to be searched and cut. Really, very, that, just, and then are a few words that litter a manuscript. I recently discovered what a tautology is. In my work, I overused the word own, i.e., his own car.
My delete button has also made paragraphs and lines disappear cutting down on repetitive ideas. In one instance, the delete button ended a character.
Beta readers and critique partners are an invaluable resource. I belong to Romance Writers of America and participate in their monthly critique group. A universal search of particular words will be helpful and frustrating. One word of caution though, visit each word or phrase individually. It may seem like a dauntless task, but if you do a universal cut or replace there will be many errors to go back and fix. I did a fix one time and every place there was a k became a K—thinKing for example.
Much of the advice is to read your work out loud. That also can seem a chore to some. However, most of the time where you stumble in reading it is probably a place the writing can be improved. Good writing is a joy to read. I learn something new about the craft multiple times a day.
Books have always been a significant part of my life. From Little Golden Books, through the children’s classics like Heidi, Black Beauty, and Misty of Chincoteague, I’ve always enjoyed slipping away to another world. The authors and genres over the years have by turn made me laugh and cry. Sometimes they scared me to death or pushed me to the edge of my seat.
So, in that spirit, I hope to one-day gift others with those emotions. Sit and laugh, cry, scream, or quietly contemplate. To take an adventure and visit new places. Make new friends and conquer some enemies.
D.V. Stone lives in Northern NJ. She has two books published independently through Amazon. Felice, Shield-Mates of Dar is a fantasy romance. Agent Sam Carter and the Mystery at Branch Lake is a mid-grade paranormal.
Using her past experience as an Emergency Medical Technician and owner of a small restaurant she combined the two and during National Novel Writing Month developed the Rock House Grill. Rock House will be the first book in the Impact Series.
With her husband Peter, dog Hali, and cat Baby, new adventures are before them traveling in their RV. Taking her passion for writing on the road she knows ideas and inspiration are everywhere.
Maybe you to have the wanderlust and will meet them in a campground or rest stop.
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
- R. R. Tolkien