Cutting Crew

We’re still redrafting our ghost hunting novel. Yesterday we read a chapter, tweaked it then thought ‘actually this chapter’s a bit pointless’ so we scrapped it. We want to split the last chapter into 2 so we’ll just shunt the other chapters up in its place. The way we see novel writing is this – writing the first draft is like assembling a skeleton. It’s the bony frame on which your other redrafts will hang. Then comes the first read through – this is throwing in the organs to give your skeleton life. Then comes the first redraft – adding the muscles, ligaments, tendons, fibres – all the messy bits that give your book shape. Plus you can see if you’ve remembered to put the organs in the right places. You don’t want the liver where the heart’s supposed to be. The next redraft is putting the skin on the novel – the finishing touches. You step back and think ‘it’s done. There’s my David.’ Then a few weeks/months/years later, you unveil your David and frown. When you last saw him he was a sculpted god. A marbled hunk of literary perfection. But then love is blind. Your David needs to join a gym. So here come the chopper to chop off his head. Ok, he can keep his head. But the excess skin has to go. This is the tweaking stage. All the hard work’s done. This is the stage we’re at with Raising the Dead. It needs toning – hence cutting that chapter. It doesn’t affect the skeleton at all, just makes David look a little tighter. So when we’re done, we’ll see if anyone wants to buy our David. If not, we’ll tuck him in a corner of our vast museum, wait a few months then bring him back out and frown at him in the bright light of day. See if he needs toning elsewhere. Or maybe add a tattoo.

The other thing we’ve done is swapped some work with a Facebook friend of ours. She’s a writer too. We’ve never critiqued anyone’s work before so thought it’d be fun. We sent her a story that’s been sent out 8 times in the last 2 1/4 years and got nowhere and she sent us 3 of hers. Hers are shorter than ours. It was great fun and interesting to see the differing styles. Sometimes to good for a different pair of eyes to spot the things that you can’t see – the love is blind cliche again. Hopefully when we’ve implemented the changes she suggested and send it out, we’ll have better luck. As always, we are keeping our talons crossed. They’re crossed so much at the moment we’re getting arthritis.

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