Cut the Boring Crap

During the last week of January, I was writing on DRAGON to enter it in a contest. Contest entered and I started reading the judging packet I had for a different contest. I finished them yesterday.

I started writing on DRAGON again. But it was wrong. I knew I wasn't hitting the right notes with the story. Shoot, it was like I was back to writing 101 again--just because a character would go through certain hoops, it doesn't make it worthy of writing about.

For example, Kyte was in the back of an ambulance being transported to a hospital. I wrote a short ambulance paragraph, an ER paragraph, of being woken up every hour during the night due to her concussion to having to get a 'patient advocate' through social services due to the fact she was a minor.

Boring crap that had NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS STORY!

So I deleted the 1500 words--about 5 pages.

It could have been worse. It could have been 15,000 words, which is what I cut from GNOME.

I could have listened to the typical writerly type of advice, 'write through the problem' you can fix it later.

True, but can you imagine the mess I would have had to clean up?? Deleting 5 pages is nothing compared to having to FIX the potential problems that going down this rabbit hole might have caused.

I've had to fix stuff before and I prefer writing a fresh scene to fixing a broken one.

So this morning I woke up, deleted the pages and reworked the passage of time in a different manner. It's not perfect, but this is tweakable.

Remember, it's easier to write: Two days later, blah, blah, blah. than writing 20 pages of boring crap about those two days that has nothing to do with the story, except to artificially inflate your word count.

I don't know about you, but I tend to skim the boring parts of any story that I'm reading, or I'll even stop reading all together.

Don't ever give your readers the opportunity to put the book down. Putting a book down is the kiss of death, because the reader might not pick it up again.

So if I have any words of advice to give a newbie writer, it's these--

DON'T WRITE THROUGH A PROBLEM SECTION. There's always a reason for hitting the wall, go back and figure out where you went wrong and fix it. It might take you days or weeks to figure it out, but figure it out first, then fix the problem.

I know this isn't typically the advice most writers would give you, but I'll stand by it.

Later, Peeps, I have a story to write!


Meg said...

True--to a point. I believe you have to write what your thinking. Cutting it is the difference between a novice and a professional.
I like the idea of going back to the fork in the story.

Margaret Golla said...

When I wrote the scene, it felt wrong. It was a story tangent that didn't really move the core of the story forward. I think I had to write it to find my magic again.