Welcome to week two of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Today I’ve got A R Kennedy talking about one of the most important aspects of writing. Editing. Here’s A R Kennedy!
Editing…I hear the collective sigh. To emphasize the importance of editing, lets see what our favorite authors say…
“The only kind of writing is re-writing” – Ernest Hemingway
Editing is the real work of the writer. You’ve never read the first draft of your favorite author. You wouldn’t want to. It’s riddled with typos, and scenes, maybe even characters, that will be deleted before you read the book. The editing is where authors fix the plot holes, fine tune it, and make it better.
But it’s the work—every writer will say this.
The research is fun. (I know more about street gangs than any suburban girl should.)
The killing is fun. (I really hope this is never taken out of context)
Seeing where your characters go is fun. (Because they do surprise you.)
The editing is the work.
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” —Mark Twain
“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
We’ve all heard this one before, first said by William Faulkner. It hurts to think about killing off one of your creations but you need to.
An editor once told me I liked my characters too much. (Please note in that same book, two beta readers didn’t like my main character, Nathan, at all. One still wants me to kill off Nathan. I’ve pointed out that would mean the end of the series. I’m trying to not read too much into that.)
The reader must feel the tension— at any point any character may die. You the author knows who will survive. You’ll mourn a character’s death more than anyone else. But do it. You want your readers, no need them, to be on the seat of their pants to turn the page, to read one more sentence, one more page, one more chapter.
So, kill ‘em I will
So how do you edit? There are thousands of books written to help and hundreds of course to attend.
My favorite is Donald Maass. If you can, go to one of his workshops. If not, buy his books and workbooks. After the second draft of my novels, I re-read my notes from his class and go through his workbook. He’’ll tell you to kill off characters, combine characters, put characters in places you never expected.
In book three of the Nathan Miccoli mystery series, Gone But Not Healed, how did Alfonso make it to Long Beach? Though Donald Maass’ workshop.
His course made me uncomfortable. He’ll warn you that it will. But go along for the ride. You and your readers will be glad you did.
“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” — Colette
A R Kennedy, author of The Nathan Miccoli series. Books 1-3 (Gone But Not Missed, Gone But Not Goodbye, Gone But Not Healed) are now on special price, 99cents, this week only. Checkout her Amazon page for links to all three books. A R Kennedy on Amazon.
Book 4 in the series, Gone But Not Together, is due out in May 2015
Website – arkennedyauthor.com
Facebook – AR Kennedy
Twitter – ARK_author
Cindy here again!
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. Great post about editing.