Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Leaving Stuff Out

I went on a week-long writing retreat to rough draft a short story. The absolute upper limit of the submission word count is 9000 words, and my draft finished at nearly 11,000. A weeeeeee tad bit too long, eh?

So now I'm going back through and polishing and cutting.

The point of pounding out a draft during National Novel Writing Month is to just pound the thing out, to just get the story down, to get to the end. It's okay if there are repetitions; later, you decide what the best place for that information is.

So my first pass through the draft has been to trip repetitions and streamline awkward sentences. I've cut a bunch, added some, and I'm still above 9000 words.

Now comes the hard part: Now comes the part where I have to cut stuff that isn't awkward and isn't repetitious.

Luckily for me, I know where to go first.

I'm almost finished with Cixin Liu's Three Body Problem Trilogy. It's insanely satisfying: Hard science fiction plus strong, rich characters. But, although the author realizes any number of worlds and societies, the books contain no animals. No, I tell a lie, there are a couple of ants, some passing birds, and mention of a pet cat. Otherwise, humans are the only animals on earth or in space.

So I put some animals into my story.

And now I'm going to take them out.

If cutting those bits give me enough wiggle room, I might be able to stick a reference in here and there, just a tiny brushstroke suggesting much more.

Wish me luck!

And read that trilogy!

Marian Allen, Author Lady


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