Reading my edited novel

Novel 1

A few weeks back I was talking to my editor, Jo. Most of your remember I had two editors: Jo and Molly.

Jo had the biggest task of them all. She had to shuffle through the mess of draft one. She was brave and deserves a huge medal. I’m thinking a shiny one with pointy edges. Don’t ask. 

The final word count of Dempsey’s Grill was in the ballpark of 84,000. When Jo took over the first draft it was around 105,000, I think. I’m sure she could come up with the actual count.

She took all the backstories that I thought were great and removed them from the actual story I was trying to tell.When Molly came along she tightened the story and made it a faster read by removing a few things that slowed the pace.

The end result was a published novel which was my goal. But at the same time there’s that tiny piece of regret that I just can’t shake.

 

The Big What if

what if

Writing a novel is a lot like seasoning your favorite dish. A little sprinkle here, a pinch there and presto: A story you and I can sink our teeth in to. But if you add too much or too little, well…everything is just a little bit off.

So that leaves me wondering: By removing certain things or adding something new did I mess with the seasoning of the characters. Would they have been better? A tad funnier? Maybe their connection with the reader stronger?

 

Or is it just me?

I’m pretty sure my thoughts are common to every writer who has read their finished product. I now understand why we have directors cuts. Maybe we need a writer’s cut?

Come to think of it, I believe Stephen King reissued The Stand with all the stuff that his editors cut the first time around.

I have no doubt there would have been some sort of regret no matter what I had done. At the same time something tells me I’m not alone when it comes to this. Someday I will have to do a blog post featuring authors, their what-if’s and their regrets. 

writer's circle

26 thoughts on “Reading my edited novel

  1. I can’t imagine The Stand with extra passages. It must be a beast of a book.

    i have a feeling that a few books from now you won’t be thinking about the editing and regrets of this novel. Things will be forward-facing and you’ll always be immersed in whatever your current WIP is.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Five or ten years from now will be interesting. Maybe we become seasoned pros. Who knows.

      You mentioned The Stand. I believe the uncut version was over a thousand pages.

      Like

  2. I think it might be because it’s your first.
    But, I totally understand your concerns. I think it might have been different if YOU were the one who cut it/ added it, but since someone else did it, you feel slightly robbed.
    I bet there are people who would have liked YOUR version more and there are people who wouldn’t.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Somehow we get it in our heads that every single word/passage is not only WONDERFUL, but essential. When I’m forced to cut something I think is terrific, I save it until the book is done – just in case I find a use for the material somewhere else in the story. That may sound silly, but it eases the sting of cutting it in the first place.

    I have no doubt it’s more difficult when someone else makes cuts/adjustments to your work, since we tend to look at our own stuff through a different set of lenses. It’s my child – you CAN’T cut that!!! I’ve never faced the situation, so hat’s off to you, Bryan!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alexander – Thank you. That was a wonderful comment. It made so much sense.. In many ways it made me feel at ease. This is a learning experience for me. I have a feeling I’ll look back and see how I overreacted and how new I was to all this.

    I appreciate your words and the time you took. Thank you.

    Like

  5. Stephen King is not someone you should listen to when it comes to book size. His stuff, at least his early stuff, is severely bloated. I think you’ll be better off with the slimmer version. Don’t worry! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. His Dark Tower series I could never get in to. His work is a pick and choose sort of thing. IT will always be a classic to me. When it comes to writing I view that novel more as a text book than a novel but I can’t say the same to some of his other works. Bloated is about as accurate a statement as I’ve heard in some of his stuff. I loved The Stand and Needful Things.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heh. IT was the one I was referring to when I said bloated. I didn’t make it to the end. That book needs to be cut down by a third. Interestingly though, On Writing is one of the best writing manuals I’ve ever read. Makes me have to believe King’s newer stuff is more polished.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s always a what-if—just make sure that if it’s something you truly love, that you don’t lose it because someone else told you that you should–I always take constructive criticism with a grain of salt and weigh my instincts against it. Most of the time, I agree with the editor, but once in a while…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I had advice from an editor on the weekend, her advice is a little hard to swallow even though it all makes perfect sense. We become attached to our story, to the plot and our characters. Knowing they need to be cut can leave us wondering about the best course of action. Well, at least that’s my experience.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s