Thursday, July 29, 2010

Self doubt and cutting meaningless words.

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Thursdays: On Writing

self doubt in revision.
So I write.

I won't call myself a writer or an author.  I"m not sure if I'm looking to make writing my career but I do think it was very awesome to get published.

I'm revising.  I'm on the 12 draft.  My process goes a little somehing like this.  I write. I sent it to my betas, Alicia, Danielle, and Cid. I change EVERYTHING they say I should change, or add more detail to or whatever.  Then I send them the next draft and I do it again.

A few days ago I TOTALLY rewrote my first chapter.  I sent it to Cid.  I won't do much more until I get her feedback.


I don't really trust myself at all.  Look I can fix your story no problem, I just can't fix my own. 

Revising is awful, because now I have to look at EVERY WORD in my novel and justify it's existence.

I'm not trying to be a bummer about it.

I AM trying to find something SUPER awesome about it.

My new favorite thing about revising is CUTTING USELESS WORDS.

Oh how I love it.  No self doubt there.

So I compiled a list of WEAK words from various places.  I did a find all, and wrote the number down.  Next I did a find NEXT and looked at EVERY time I used that word.  I decided if the word should stay or go.  Lots of times I cut WHOLE sentences because I didn't say a damn thing in it. 
There were 1299 empty words at the start of this.  I got it down to 600.   In a 74K novel--- not too shabby.  And it's a way to feel INSTANTLY productive. 

That 400 down to 200
Just- 49-- 18
Pretty 12 -6
Then 53- 28
Was…ing--- 205 ---58
Went 69 -- 25
Get 304- 172
Got 209- 139
Would 264
 Have 255
 had 409
make 88-- 50
go 137- 63
could 209
do 214
Felt 33-13
Heard 49
Saw 31 - 9
Looked 98- 27
Appeared 29
 knew 53
As you can see, I haven't done it for every word, nor will I.   But the novel is MUCH stronger for it.

Go, do it.   You'll thank me later.


  1. SO true. I realized recently that I overuse use "just". What did people do before find/replace? (or more accurately in this case, find/delete)
    I'm saving these! Thanks

  2. Oh man, do I ever feel your pain! I'm working on that rediculous paranormal romance I wrote at the beginning of the year. Ya want to know how many words I cut last night? You ready for this? 7,000. S-e-v-e-n t-h-o-u-s-a-n-d *gets a cookie for spelling* When I totaled up everything I cut last night I almost passed out. It hurts! It hurts a lot! But there's so much that needs to be rewritten!!!

    And I really like NSAA. It's funny and honest! Have I ever said that before? I like how the characters are honest about who they are. Fer serials!!

  3. I actually like revising. But dude, you have to find yourself in the novel. You have to trust yourself. I think that's what makes the best authors. I just finished edits for my editor, and I didn't do every single little thing she suggested. I did about 90% of them -- in my own way. The story is mine, not hers. Your story is yours, not your CP's. I think that might be something to consider. When you trust yourself, you'll be more passionate about calling yourself an author or a writer.

  4. I love slashing words too! It feels so good. I use Wordle at this stage of editing. Then I use the find tool. LOVE it!

  5. You may not call yourself a writer, but you are :P

    Great work on the editing. It's hard work, but it's great work.

  6. I love slashing words too.

    I hope you get some good feedback from your bud.

    love the list of words you slashed :) I se so many books in print hat couldve done with that kind of overhaul of little words. makes such a difference