Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cutting it -- No Crying Involved!

Source: content.photjojo.com
Many of you already know that I'm revising my first fantasy novel. You might also know that I couldn't figure out how to revise it on my own, so I took a course, Holly Lisle's "How to Revise Your Novel (HTRYN)". This course has been one of the hardest, eye-opening experiences of my life. 

I spent 16 weeks dissecting my novel from every angle possible, and then from angles I didn't know were possible, till I knew my book inside and out and I could write out every scene from memory. Then, I planned my changes. I did all this BEFORE I was allowed to change anything (Holly, that was hard!).

Now, on Lesson 17, I've begun what Holly calls "Major Surgery", where you cut, re-write, and add new scenes -- all, so that you get the book you want.


I've been able to cut whole chapters out without blinking an eye; No crying involved. I attribute it to deep preparation (thanks to Holly). When you know your book this well and you know why things HAVE to go, it's a no-brainer. It's actually fun figuring out how to re-work some of the needed info. back into other parts.

It is very different from first draft writing, where you just go with the flow (or at least that's how I do it). In revision, you KNOW exactly where it needs to go and you work on it till it hits the exact mark you want. You think about how you want your reader to think and feel. Plan and simple, it is manipulation --you take complete control of your book. 
Powerful stuff.

So that's where I am right now and the reason I didn't get to visit as many A to Z participants as I would have liked.
What are you working on right now?


  1. That sounds pretty intense! But it is great that you know that much about your novel that it's okay to cut what doesn't belong. :)

    1. Hi Krista!
      Yes, it is intense, but just what I needed. I wanted someone to tell me, "OK, now you do this and now you do that!" ;0)

  2. I'm off to find out more. I'm in the middle of cutting a 170k novel into no more than 125K. I'm down to under 160k without blinking an eye. Now I need to check this out to see if it'll help with the rest. WOOT!

    Thanks... and I've passed this post onto other writer friends. :)

    1. Chautona,
      Just know that it is not a quick fix. It takes 16 solid weeks before you cut anything.

      It has been just what I needed.

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  3. I did sign up (and emailed to let her know that you should get credit) and am doing it with another book rather than the big cut. I have a deadline with that one that I decided I was not willing to push back. I planned to. I decided a six to nine month delay would be better if it meant I had the perfect product, and I agree. I will just do that one the way I always do. However, I just thought that this project isn't the one to do that with. I'll do it with one that is

    1. Shorter
    2. Not already in promotion
    3. Frankly, easier while still being
    4. Not as well written and with definite holes as well as excess.

    I just thought I'd be using my lessons to their best advantage that way. :)

    Doing this while doing Camp NaNoWriMo TWICE this summer is gonna KILL me.

    1. Chautona,
      Awesome -- and thank you for emailing Holly! I think you will like the course. I gained so much already...things I never thought about before. Your login is always good, so you can go back and redo the course for every book you write. Each time through, the books will be better with less revising to do because the stuff will be ingrained as we write.

      Also, the workgroup has been invaluable. That helped me understand some of the lessons better. Other students and moderators answer your questions. You'll see that I've posted questions there (under "Hamsher").

      Please let me know what you think of it. Take care!

  4. I just got my novel cut to 125. I think it did help! :)

    I'm on week 4... oy. Week three about killed me!


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