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Friday, September 23, 2011

THE TRICKY TASK OF WEEDING THINGS OUT!

Alexander the Great Mosaic

I'm beginning to feel a little bit like a warrior wielding a sword as I chop my way through doing edits on my novel "Shadow of the Lion".  The biggest problem is, for the most part the writing is as near perfect as I could get it and the story is as exciting as ever, even after having read it through countless times.  So knowing what to cut is really a problem for me.  I've already chopped several chapters out and repetitious passages, but I'm still way over the required word count.

I just had another reader's critique and line-editing done by a friend of mine who did a thorough job. She says she has marked a few passages that can be chopped, but for the most part she loved the story the way it is.  As soon as I finish this round of going through the MSS myself, I'll go back and follow all her advice which includes spell-checks and punctuation, although most of that was done on the last round.

Macedonian kopis, weapon used by soldiers


Recently, another published writer friend, advised me to just go by my own feelings as what to cut. I had been discussing the problem with her and said I was so afraid of 'gutting' the story, taking out something vital, and spoiling the story-line by doing so.  It's a complicated political history story with a lot of sub-plotting, but this was necessary to build tension and draw out the characters as well as to explain what was going on in Alexander's world that eventually leads to the end of his dynasty.


I'll be attending the Surrey Writer's Conference in a few weeks.  I'd hoped to get appointments with a couple of particular editors/agents but found they were not available the day I am attending.  I at least hope I can perhaps nab them in the lobby.  I do have another appointment scheduled but was disappointed not to get the ones I'd counted on.  My aim is to start pitching Shadow by the end of October so it's vital for me to get as much of this final editing done as possible by then.  I do know that if I can get a publisher interested their own editors will do a lot of cutting, but I think it's important to make sure I've done the best I can before that time.  It might mean I will have to hire a professional editor to do the final cuts.  I know this can be very expensive.  But if it means getting the manuscript into perfect order for publication I'm willing to do that.


Meanwhile, it's 'slash and burn' and hope for the best...a compelling, clean copy to hand over to a publisher!



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