Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Touch That Keyboard And I'll Hack Your Fingers Off

I unwrapped the garland from around my neck and pulled a piece of tape off the bottom of my foot and hobbled to my computer with a half-wrapped present in hand only to find this - "It's My Story Touch it and Die!"

Okay - possibly it wasn't that drastic but the other day I was foraging - yes, I love that term.  It sounds rather like you were wandering through a meadow instead of doing what I was really doing which was cruising the web.  And there I ran into the topic of editing. 

I was surprised to read how many aspiring writers were sure that to remain true to their own voice they should not liberally edit.  Now, I suppose liberally editing isn't a good thing but sometimes one has to rip and tear at a story to find the heart of it - what was good in the beginning that got lost in the fog of the actual writing.   But I was seeing no such inclinations instead there were comments like:
"I know the characters intimately and this is their story."
"Editing will destroy the voice."
"You're the author.  It's your story."
"If you listen to everyone you'll never stop editing."

Yikes, as a reader I sure hope you're editing and a lot. I've read more books than I want to count that could have used a liberal editor. Too bad they didn't get one and as a result I more than likely won't pick up that author's books again.

Edits. As a reader I'll thank you.

Open to other views.

If you want to succeed, you have to be open to edits, ideas and sometimes - that means a whole lot of rewriting.  It's still your story - it's still the characters' story.  But I'm betting if you hold the old up against the new you'll see a much stronger copy than you had the first time around.

Ripping a story apart isn't a bad thing. In fact, sometimes - I'd actually call it fun.

New Year's Blog hop is only days away!



prerna pickett said...

staying true to your characters is different from being too stubborn to listen to advice. Sometimes people think they know their characters when really they're attached to specific scenes.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Prerna - I think you've hit it - characters need to grow and sometimes you may not realize that your vision for any number of characters isn't transposing on paper or that scene, much as you love it - isn't allowing the reader to connect to your character or.... A scene or two or three does not a story make.

Tiffany said...

I love this. You must stay true to who you are.


Ryshia Kennie said...

I agree Tiffany - stay true but edit.