Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh
chris_walsh

Less wordy!

Editing continues apace. I'm into Chapter 5 (it's a short-chaptered work, but still) of re-reading/ revising "The Idiot Plot," and what's satisfying so far? Realizing I didn't need lots of those words.

National Novel Writing Month heavily emphasizes word count, to measure your progress: hitting the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words in a month averages out to 1,667 words a day, which is damn doable. But back in 2002 some of those words included

Carol pulled the envelope back up off the table and held it to her abdomen, as a churning uncertainty hit her. Her arm waved the envelope – alternately farther from and closer to her body, closer to and farther from the table. It looked like invisible tug-of-war between her and the wood upon which she had intended to place the note. She then dropped the envelope, and let it land on the tabletop.

Which is now, for the moment at least,

Carol pulled the envelope back up off the table and held it to her abdomen, as a churning uncertainty hit her. Her arm waved the envelope. She then dropped it, and let it land on the tabletop.

There. Thirty-seven words instead of 73. Extreme example (plenty of times I'm just taking out, for example, "the"). I think 2002-Me wanted to play up how she vacillated, but the first line does that. "It looked like invisible tug-of-war between her and the wood upon which she had intended to place the note" is a bad line, but one that probably sounded poetic to me 10 years ago. Now-Me sees that it doesn't really say anything. Or at least it doesn't say enough. So it's gone. (To reference Stephen King again, in On Writing he wrote an excerpt of what became his short story "1408," then edited it, and added notes taking the piss out of his initial writing choices. "The first-draft copy reads 'Mike sat down in one of the chairs in front of the desk.' Well, duh -- where else is he going to sit? On the floor? I don't think so, and out it goes.")

Shorter: I LIKE EDITING. I should do it more.

I know, this isn't ground-breaking for all y'all who DO THIS FOR A LIVING, but I like being reminded.
Tags: nanowrimo
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