I am trimming the fat on my third book–title changed again to, “Don’t Take the Girl”–and I realized I have done this to every book. I’m wondering if many other authors do this: I write to my heart’s content: detail, adjectives, pronouns and detailed back stories. When I am all done with that chapter, I go back and read it. With the use of my best friend thesaurus.com I fine tune some words here and there and tend to come out wordier than it was before. True story.
Now I am not at the end of my third book, maybe somewhere nearing the middle since, “Be Still,” marketing has devoured my future writing career. Lately, I’m lucky if I can get a few paragraphs in a week, and that only happens when I become so overly consumed with, “Be Still,” that I have to step away from it lest I start regurgitating. No fun there. But the vicious cycle of not writing for long periods of time means I have to go back and reread what I wrote to put myself back into motion and get back into that mindset. By the time that happens I am exhausted and fail to get much writing done.
So what I am doing instead is an extensive overhaul of trimming the fat in my book. It may be awhile before I can settle into a groove of writing full-time since I am working as a nurse full-time and marketing the rest of the time, which puts my life into all-the-time mode. I have no writing time. No real time to sit and be creative at length or at a level that I am accustomed to. So instead of moving forward I move backward, but do so in the name of progress.
Currently, I have trimmed over 1500 words from three chapters. That is a lot of excess. But while moving through this writing process I have learned something very valuable: Save your detail for where it is needed most! I have read a few books, most self-published and first timers, where the author goes into vast detail in areas where it is not needed. Apparently, I am guilty of that literary crime against story telling. I have learned that it is not important to give a one paragraph detail of the dog unless the detail of the dog is important to the story somehow. Ask yourself this, does it matter whether I add detail here or am I filling space?
Sometimes less is more…
Have you ever listened to someone tell a story and sit there and say, “Was it Tuesday or Wednesday? hmmm…I remember having tacos that day and usually that is a Tuesday, but I saw John and he’s a Wednesday guy, but it could have been Tuesday…” and you’re thinking to yourself, does the day of the week have any bearing on the story? The same can be said in a book. I read one book–this one was traditionally published–that detailed everything right down to the tiny spot on the rug in the far corner of the room. So I waited to see why detailing the spot (three sentences long) was important. It never was and so as I reader I felt jaded and led on. This entire book was the same way with way too much detail that spilled over into nothing. Great book as a use for reference on alliteration, but for no other reason.
So I am 1500 spare words down and probably have another couple thousand to go. When people read my book I don’t want them to read the excess and get bored. It’s time to put this book on the treadmill and shed some words. But don’t get frugal about it either, we really do need to know that he looked at her with all the passion he had lost for ten years in his adoring, unwavering jade colored eyes. That tidbit there lets us step into the character’s mind and be the person on the other side of those jade colored eyes.
Don’t forget to read my book, “Be Still,” published by Iuniverse and watch the book trailer to the right of the screen and leave feedback.