Thursday, February 24, 2011

Snipping it in the Bud

The hubby has come and gone. My parents have come and gone. The hiatus was...sort of a hiatus. I didn't truly put things aside because I was thinking about writing even if I wasn't putting words on paper.

Actually, I was taking them away.

While I set the book aside as promised, I did work on the SCBWI W-I-P Grant application to make sure the first three chapters of my book didn't go over the 2,500 word limit. I agonized over every word and every sentence in those chapters.

I snipped. I clipped. I even blipped.

Yep. That's right. I swore. Like a drunken sailor. In German, of course, so my kids didn't know.

I couldn't figure out how to get the lousy thing smaller when I was finally down to cutting the last 50 words. Every word I cut found it's way back in because, without it, something was missing.

A smell. A sound. A feeling. An image. A character thought. A hint of voice.

I wasn't looking at sentences at this point. I was looking at every. Single. Individual. Word.

And two good things came out of it:

1.) I did finally find a spot that always felt a little wonky but I didn't know how to fix. And I fixed it. And my writing sample was 2,496 words.

2.) I really understand what Richard Peck meant when he said to write the tightest page you can. And then cut 10 words.

You have to snip it in the bud. Without taking out what's important.

And hopefully you figure out how to do it before your kids understand whatever language you are swearing in.