Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

editing for authors ad

A publisher or agency using Google ads to solicit your novel probably isn't anyone you want to write for.


Go Back   Absolute Write Water Cooler > General Writing Interest > Novels
Register FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-11-2013, 11:00 AM   #1
P-Jay
My name is PJ.
 
P-Jay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 144
P-Jay is on a distinguished road
Where do you draw the line when "trimming the fat"?

Hello fellow writers,

I know this is going to be very subjective. I'm in my first round of edits, and I realized that I could condense 2 chapters into 1 chapter, and still get the point across. Then my wandering mind started thinking about merging in another chapter. And another chapter. And another.

It's late. And I'm probably overthinking it, but I'm interested in where you guys draw the line when "trimming the fat."

I'm sure it's a balance thing... I'm just wondering if there's a general rule of thumb that I don't know about.

Thanks in advance!
P-Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
Liralen
Miss Conceived
 
Liralen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Taarna
Posts: 5,828
Liralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsLiralen is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
More isn't always better, but less isn't always better either.

It's a story, there needs to be . . . storytelling.

Kind of like a roast. If it's too lean it's tough and has no flavor.
__________________
The creative writing process is a lot like emotional binge and purge cycles.

Can you find the Pitbull?

WIP ~ The Black Dog Dialogues: At the raw, dark fringes of exhaustion, there is The Black Dog
Liralen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 11:13 AM   #3
WillSauger
The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me.
 
WillSauger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Posts: 4,860
WillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsWillSauger is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I start out writing as lean as possible, so it's hard to trim the fat without cutting something vital out. Most the time I'm gaining over cutting.

Think of it this way: If we wanted to trim the story down, we would be writing a one paragraph section instead of a 100K novel.
So, it's the journey to get to that point we need to make. To have the reader experience what the characters are going through.
And try your best to keep the amount of time and words the reader has to go through to get to the point to a minimum, but without sacrificing the journey they go on.

I say, a scene that does nothing can be gold if its entertaining. And a scene that does a lot, but isn't entertaining is worthless.
But you want to strike for both entertaining, and productive.

It really is a balancing act.
__________________
Don't Fear Failure.

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" -- Alvin Toffler.

"The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night" -- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
WillSauger is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 11:21 AM   #4
Chris P
Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
 
Chris P's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Entebbe, Uganda
Posts: 10,578
Chris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsChris P is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Well, there's the obvious of cutting anything that doesn't pertain to the story. At some point I need to make a decision on what I want to say, and how best to say it. Anything that doesn't add to the central conflict should go. But, after initially writing very richly, I now write very leanly, and as you said balance is important.
__________________
Short Fiction and Novel in the AW Library
Shorts on sub: 5




Resingled Querying!
Nyasaland Off to betas. PM me if you'd like to help a guy out.
WIP: WWI Sci-fi. It's got tanks. And holograms. 41,000 words.

Write on, Brother! (blog)
Chris P is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 12:32 PM   #5
Dgullen
Ustom Ser Itle
 
Dgullen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Near London, UK
Posts: 115
Dgullen is on a distinguished road
It's very subjective. My rule of thumb is if you can cut you should cut. Sometimes it's obvious you can dump a section, other times it takes a bit more thought. (When I say dump I mean cut it into another file or shunt it down the bottom into the word moraine because you might change your mind.)

Cutting can be very satisfying. I think if there's any rule it is this: You should cut if cutting reveals more of the story. Much the same as sculpting a statue consists of removing the material you don't need to reveal the figure.

It's also worth putting your work aside for a few days, or a week or two, before you do your edits.
Dgullen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 02:24 PM   #6
BigWords
Geekzilla
 
BigWords's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: inside the machine
Posts: 10,682
BigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsBigWords is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Don't cut so much that the actions of characters feel arbitrary. There needs to be some heart in there as well as the mechanics of the story.

Also, with every edit remember to save in a new file - you might want to add some of the cut material back in at a later point, and you really should keep a copy of everything you have written, if only to remind yourself of the thought process getting from A to B.
__________________
The blog, which may not be updated regularly enough. -- I'm linking to other AW blogs here. -- There's some nonsense here when I can be bothered.
Don't hold your breath...

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbielleRose View Post
Dude, I am not that flexible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aliwood View Post
The SFF Review Educational Supplement is now open. I'll be listing books, podcasts, online courses and anything else that aims to help the SFF writer improve their skills, provided they're free. (the books, podcasts, online courses and anything else, not the writers)




The British Comics Database is growing. Or mutating. I'm not quite sure which, yet.
BigWords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 05:20 PM   #7
Jamesaritchie
resident curmudgeon
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 22,183
Jamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsJamesaritchie is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
It isn't something I worry about. I just write the way I think works best, and I tell a story I'd want to read. I trust my instincts, and don't think about trimming, or lengthening, beyond whether or not I like the way it reads.
__________________
Blog http://jamesaritchie2.blogspot.com/
Jamesaritchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 05:38 PM   #8
HFgal
Who wants a cup of tea?
 
HFgal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: 19th century
Posts: 160
HFgal is on a distinguished road
I would like to hear people's views on cutting when you have a 63K MS like P-Jay vs. cutting when you have a much higher word count.

People have a certain expectation of how long their entertainment should last. A movie isn't less than an hour (unless it's a short, but I mean a mainstream full movie) and it's usually less than 3 hours. Books have expected lengths too, and that varies by genre. So it seems like this should be part of the mix of cutting. Because P-Jay's MS is 63K, I agree with WillSauger's comments about being entertaining. In my case, because when I was done with the first draft my MS was about 20K over the maximum word count for my genre, I had to cut out entire scenes that were (IMHO) extremely entertaining but not critical to move the story ahead - even though they DID move the story ahead, they were not 100% necessary, so I cut. And it hurt. (But of course they are still saved in an older version of the file, where I can take them out and pet them every once in a while to feel good. )

Then there was the review of every frickin' adjective and the cutting of many of them. Now THAT was tedious. But worth it.
HFgal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 07:23 PM   #9
P-Jay
My name is PJ.
 
P-Jay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 144
P-Jay is on a distinguished road
Thanks for all the replies.

Part of me wishes I never asked this question, because now I'm looking too far into everything.
But awareness is a good thing, right?

Every scene in my MS has some sort of purpose. Some scenes have more than others, but that's just for pacing.

This really is driving me a little insane. I'm going to try and not touch or think about my MS all weekend.
P-Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 09:29 PM   #10
theDolphin
Aquarius
 
theDolphin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Toronto
Posts: 156
theDolphin is on a distinguished road
Great question. It's intriguing to see all the different approaches. As you can see from the variety, ultimately you'll find your own path. For what they're worth, here are my two cents.

I had often heard that rewriting is where the real writing begins, and I used to--well-- rather poo-poo that idea. "I edit while I write," I told myself. And I always believed that. I believed it right up until I was faced with the first serious rewrite of my first novel. As you mentioned the rewriting process can be extremely overwhelming and confusing and at the outset it really was for me. I'd get trapped in my head, going over and over the same ground, doing a whole lot of circular thinking about what was going to work. Anyway, while I am certain everyone has their own techniques for Navigating the Rewrite, this is the methodology that broke the cycle for me in the end:

I sat down one morning and wrote two paragraphs on the two main themes of my novel. I then tacked them up on the bulletin board beside my desk. Every morning I read them before I would look at the novel. Keeping those themes firmly in my head as I began to work, every story element, character, plot point that didn't feed the movement and progression of those themes toward their climax-- was cut.

I was shocked at how much chaff I could cut from the wheat. I ended up cutting more than I would have thought possible. Words led to paragraphs and ultimately even a character and a few chapters I adored were discarded. In cases where I was too broken up about losing something, I'd store away the material I'd cut, in case it would someday prove useful in another tale. When I was finished I had cut nearly 100 pages from the original manuscript. After two more rewrites, I had cut a total of 125 pages from what proved to be the final draft.

It was hard work, and it was slow going, but in the end it gave me an entirely different perspective of the piece. I was able to view the novel as a whole so much more easily than I had when I was writing originally. My agent queries, including my descriptive paragraph, and my one sentence pitch, came so much more easily after that work. In the end, rewriting was both liberating and exhilarating.

Now I'm working on my second novel. And I can't wait to get to the rewrites!
Good luck to you!
__________________
www.jenniferrockwell.com

sparrow in the treetop - tweet, tweet!

Jennifer Rockwell on Goodreads

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
Maya Angelou
theDolphin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 09:32 PM   #11
victoriakmartin
practical experience, FTW
 
victoriakmartin's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 275
victoriakmartin is on a distinguished road
If you are really in doubt, you could always write the condensed version and then compare it to the original, or have someone else read it for fresh eyes.

I generally do think that it is better to ere on the side of "less is more" though, so long as the pacing doesn't suffer because of it.
__________________
~Imagination and Creation are my MAGIC~

http://www.victoriakmartin.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-K-Martin/100339113495839

(formerly known as i_paint_the_sky)
victoriakmartin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 10:00 PM   #12
P-Jay
My name is PJ.
 
P-Jay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 144
P-Jay is on a distinguished road
Scratch what I said in my previous post. There's no way I'll be able to not write or think about my manuscript for three days.

I think I'm going to power through this round of edits without thinking too much about trimming. Once that's done, I'll have a firmer slab of clay to work with.

Hopefully doing it this way will save my sanity until the next round of edits.

Thank you all for your responses! Reps will be added.

Please do continue the discussion, as the responses have been very informative and intriguing.

It's interesting to see how this can be played off.
The questions resound in my head every time I read a new novel now.

1. Did the author just flip a coin to decide whether or not to merge/split that chapter?

2. If the scene was too fat/lean, was that the legitimate intention of the author?

I'm quite certain I'm looking way too far into this. It's been a long year.
P-Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 10:29 PM   #13
hollis shiloh
love stories about men
 
hollis shiloh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 21
hollis shiloh is on a distinguished road
If I can give some advice, I'd say don't be obsessed with word count. When you revise, aim steadfastly toward clarity and interesting things. Are your sentences and paragraphs clear? (Clarity starts small.) Do your characters have appropriate motivation for what they do? And most of all, is this story interesting? Those are the things that matter, I think.
hollis shiloh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 10:51 PM   #14
P-Jay
My name is PJ.
 
P-Jay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 144
P-Jay is on a distinguished road
Nothing I've written is nonsense. Everything adds to the story.

Some scenes are more for entertainment, but are still relevant to the story.
Some scenes are slower, but are used for character/momentum building.

I'm not writing a thriller, so not every scene will be bang-bang-bang-bang-bang, point A to B to C to D in a matter of seconds.

I guess what I'm trying to figure out, is the art of gradual momentum building.

For example,
Scene 1 is about MC and his family at home.
Scene 2 is about MC and his best friend at school, maybe some back story when he comes into play.
Now do I merge those two scenes? Maybe his friend comes over to his place for dinner, where I introduce them all at once?
Or keep them seperate?
If I merged them, I'd lose some funny material that happens at school, but it'd be more "lean."

That's what I'm banging my head over. This is probably where an author's own style and voice comes into play as well.

I guess in the big picture, there's really no right or wrong answer. Or is there?

I need a cup of coffee.

Last edited by P-Jay; 01-11-2013 at 10:58 PM.
P-Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-11-2013, 11:53 PM   #15
Chasing the Horizon
Found the Horizon
 
Chasing the Horizon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South of Olympos
Posts: 3,845
Chasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthoodChasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthoodChasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthoodChasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthoodChasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthoodChasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthoodChasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthoodChasing the Horizon is a candidate for sainthood
Quote:
Originally Posted by P-Jay View Post
For example,
Scene 1 is about MC and his family at home.
Scene 2 is about MC and his best friend at school, maybe some back story when he comes into play.
Now do I merge those two scenes? Maybe his friend comes over to his place for dinner, where I introduce them all at once?
Or keep them seperate?
If I merged them, I'd lose some funny material that happens at school, but it'd be more "lean."
But what are the scenes actually *about*? What is the conflict and what do they reveal that's imperative to the plot and theme? You have to be able to analyze that before you can edit effectively.

I can't guess what the purpose of your scenes are, so I'll use my new book as an example of what I'm talking about. The opening scene shows the characters going around to several magical markets and festivals in their city. While this reveals world-building well enough and serves to orient the reader to where we are, going to magical festivals is not what the scene is about. It's about the conversation the characters are having about the upcoming ritual they're going to be forced to participate in, and how, because of what his friend says, the MC begins to dread the ritual. It's the first time he begins to doubt that what his people do to their children is right. It's this doubt that will eventually lead him to commit the drastic act that kicks off the whole epic fantasy conflict. So the opening scene is *about* the MC discovering that one of the foundations of his society is terribly flawed.

So what are the two scenes you're looking at actually about? If they're about the same thing (and books often have many scenes with the same basic point) then merging them could work. But if the points are completely different it's going to muddle things if you combine them.
__________________
Chasing the Horizon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 12:39 AM   #16
treehugger
practical experience, FTW
 
treehugger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas
Posts: 163
treehugger is on a distinguished road
This has definitely been a big issue for my in my current WIP. The first draft is... well, it has a lot of potential, but I worked on it too sporadically and wound up with a manuscript that is bloated with unnecessary secondary characters and subplots that go nowhere, etc., etc. Of course at the time I was writing and even though round one of editing I thought everything in it was necessary, too, but upon further reflection I found that a lot of the more troublesome scenes were "not quite right" because they did nothing for the story I was trying to tell and were unnecessary digressions that would be deleted wholesale or incorporated into other scenes. Which really, really hurt because I had to get rid of some scenes and lines that were very charming or entertaining or well-written, but... they just didn't work for this story.

I wouldn't recommend doing this for your entire book, because it is so labor intensive, but what I did for some of the stickier parts was go though and make kind of a post-first-draft outline where I wrote a few words about what happened the each scene (the bare, tangible action) and then what that scene meant to the story as a whole. So I might have something like this:

Lily asks to spend summer at Rick and Mattie's, Paul quits job.
-class/poverty
-Paul's recklessness (foreshadowing Lily's)
-family tension

Doing this help solidify the story in my mind and helped me see the best way to tell that story. I trimmed a lot of fat and was able to really tighten the remaining scenes. This is a literary novel, by the way, also not a bang-bang-bang thriller. A literary novel can be made lean and still be lyrical and beautiful; you just have to make sure that every word counts.

Good luck. I am right now wrestling with a 50 page subplot that may or may not need to be in the final draft. :|
__________________
http://sonyamirus.com/
treehugger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 12:54 AM   #17
Dorky
practical experience, FTW
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 301
Dorky has a spectacular aura
When it starts reading like a stage script, has lost too much and no longer makes sense, and/or the pacing has gone all wonky and there is no longer any sense of time. That’s my simple way of knowing when I've gone too far.

I usually end up cutting a lot of extra writing that has no impact on the story or doesn’t contribute to helping someone understand a character.
Dorky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 01:07 AM   #18
kkbe
Huh.
 
kkbe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Left of center.
Posts: 4,032
kkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
Originally Posted by P-Jay View Post
Nothing I've written is nonsense. Everything adds to the story. . . I guess what I'm trying to figure out, is the art of gradual momentum building . . . do I merge those two scenes? . . .Or keep them seperate? . . . That's what I'm banging my head over. This is probably where an author's own style and voice comes into play as well.

I guess in the big picture, there's really no right or wrong answer. Or is there?

I need a cup of coffee.
P-Jay, maybe you could post a couple of scenes, present your concerns, see if there's some sort of general concensus.

Maybe you need a good night's sleep.

Maybe you need to step away for a while. Maybe you're so close to it that you're starting to see the parts at the exclusion of the whole.

Maybe you're being reactive out of doubt or anxiety, and panic is setting in, and you're not trusting your writing because of that.

Maybe you should set your writing aside for a little while and see what happens, or just keep writing, and see what happens.

__________________
From CHERRY:
Quote:
Every time I said itevery time I gave it a try, tasted it, rolled it around on my tongue—it seemed more plausible to me.

My little blog: /todays-favorite-fives/
kkbe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 01:13 AM   #19
Wilde_at_heart
Shameless attention-whore...
 
Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 2,046
Wilde_at_heart leaves trails of profuse coolnessWilde_at_heart leaves trails of profuse coolnessWilde_at_heart leaves trails of profuse coolnessWilde_at_heart leaves trails of profuse coolnessWilde_at_heart leaves trails of profuse coolness
Quote:
Originally Posted by P-Jay View Post
Hello fellow writers,

I know this is going to be very subjective. I'm in my first round of edits, and I realized that I could condense 2 chapters into 1 chapter, and still get the point across. Then my wandering mind started thinking about merging in another chapter. And another chapter. And another.

It's late. And I'm probably overthinking it, but I'm interested in where you guys draw the line when "trimming the fat."

I'm sure it's a balance thing... I'm just wondering if there's a general rule of thumb that I don't know about.

Thanks in advance!
If it ads depth to your story or characters, keep it. Nothing wrong with a little 'self-indulgence' imo.

Have you set it aside for a bit so it isn't super-fresh in your memory first? Do a quick read-through and if it doesn't really add anything to the story and you find that even you are skipping over it, then you can probably cut it. If there is a part that you still are really attached to and it's not completely extraneous, you might as well keep it.

I start by cutting out any repetition, crutch words, and words like 'very', 'suddenly' and 'almost first, and then work on strengthening nouns and verbs. There doesn't tend to be a lot of left-over 'fat' by then...
Wilde_at_heart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 01:36 AM   #20
P-Jay
My name is PJ.
 
P-Jay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 144
P-Jay is on a distinguished road
I don't mind cutting out unneccessary or redundant material, I'm just unsure of where, when, and how much.

One of my first scenes is the MC's birthday party.
What's shown to the reader in this scene:
- MC has a loving family
- MC has a brother that's 7 years younger
- MC has a best friend
- MC is close with his cousin
- MC is a smart, observing person at a young age

Everything that's shown in this scene can easily be portrayed in the following scenes. However, if I were to scrap this scene and just move the main points over to the next scene, I would lose a few jokes, but would not affect the story otherwise.

Would you scrap all these "filler" scenes?

And to the poster above mentioning my word count... I try not to let the word count deter my story too much. The 63k in my signature was from when I first powered through my first draft. There are a few plot holes I had to fill, and now I'm at about 70k.

Edit: Reading back through the birthday party scene a few times, I think I will be cutting it out.
P-Jay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 02:31 AM   #21
kkbe
Huh.
 
kkbe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Left of center.
Posts: 4,032
kkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentskkbe is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
Quote:
P-Jay: Would you scrap all these "filler" scenes?
Now you're talking about a different animal, P-Jay. If the scene effectively moves the story forward in a meaningful way, then it has value to the story. If it is "filler material," it does not. You need to know the purpose that each chapter, scene, paragraph, sentence, and word serves. If it doesn't serve the story, it isn't pulling it's weight. Or it's weighing it down. Or obscuring it. Or leading it in a direction you don't want the story to go.

If that's the case, get rid of it.
__________________
From CHERRY:
Quote:
Every time I said itevery time I gave it a try, tasted it, rolled it around on my tongue—it seemed more plausible to me.

My little blog: /todays-favorite-fives/
kkbe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 03:16 AM   #22
wampuscat
Recovering adjective addict
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,532
wampuscat should run for Presidentwampuscat should run for Presidentwampuscat should run for Presidentwampuscat should run for Presidentwampuscat should run for Presidentwampuscat should run for President
I'm wondering if it might help you to take a book that you love, or two, and study it. Break it apart. Figure out how each scene works with the overall plot and the overall character arc.

Everything in writing is subjective. In the end, you have to do for your story what feels right to you.
wampuscat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 05:27 AM   #23
treehugger
practical experience, FTW
 
treehugger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas
Posts: 163
treehugger is on a distinguished road
If you already convey these things in another scene (or feel you can convey them in a better way), then cut it. If it feels like a "filler scene," absolutely cut it.

But save the deleted scenes in another file somewhere if your not sure, just in case you want to add them back in later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by P-Jay View Post
I don't mind cutting out unneccessary or redundant material, I'm just unsure of where, when, and how much.

One of my first scenes is the MC's birthday party.
What's shown to the reader in this scene:
- MC has a loving family
- MC has a brother that's 7 years younger
- MC has a best friend
- MC is close with his cousin
- MC is a smart, observing person at a young age

Everything that's shown in this scene can easily be portrayed in the following scenes. However, if I were to scrap this scene and just move the main points over to the next scene, I would lose a few jokes, but would not affect the story otherwise.

Would you scrap all these "filler" scenes?

And to the poster above mentioning my word count... I try not to let the word count deter my story too much. The 63k in my signature was from when I first powered through my first draft. There are a few plot holes I had to fill, and now I'm at about 70k.

Edit: Reading back through the birthday party scene a few times, I think I will be cutting it out.
__________________
http://sonyamirus.com/
treehugger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 07:05 AM   #24
MakanJuu
practical experience, FTW
 
MakanJuu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Warren, OH
Posts: 431
MakanJuu is well-respected
Meh, it's all subjective for me. If something just isn't right, it'll be either shortened or rewritten in a manner which is easier to swallow. Either that, or deleted entirely.
__________________
Spirits: The Hidden World (Urban Fantasy- NA)
Stage: drudging to introduce my MC's again

What Lies Within The Mahounin (Native American/ Horror/ Fantasy- NA)
Stage: I think I have a basic story outline & a world, now.

Let Us Thrive (Political/ Techno-Thriller/ War/ Epic- NA)
Stage: Preconception. Got some good ideas & starting place, but not sure where I'm going yet.
MakanJuu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2013, 08:52 AM   #25
Gynn
Wandering worlds
 
Gynn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Noth
Posts: 661
Gynn has a spectacular aura
Quote:
Originally Posted by P-Jay View Post
Hello fellow writers,

I know this is going to be very subjective. I'm in my first round of edits, and I realized that I could condense 2 chapters into 1 chapter, and still get the point across. Then my wandering mind started thinking about merging in another chapter. And another chapter. And another.

It's late. And I'm probably overthinking it, but I'm interested in where you guys draw the line when "trimming the fat."

I'm sure it's a balance thing... I'm just wondering if there's a general rule of thumb that I don't know about.

Thanks in advance!
As long as each chapter has a point (furthers the plot in some way), I say try to keep it in some fashion. I'm the king of chapters that don't have a point, i.e. character development that doesn't really keep the plot rolling. I find that I do lots of merging in the course of my writing.

I guess you should just look at each chapter and ask yourself what would happen if you completely deleted it. Which actions and lines are irreplaceable? Can they be merged into another chapter?
Gynn is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Custom Search

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.

Buy Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)


All times are GMT +4.5. The time now is 12:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.