Friday, September 7, 2012
You work so very hard writing a book - finding just the right words, making sure that sentence makes sense. You want it to flow. You want the reader to get so caught up in this world you've created that they don't want to leave it. How many hours, days, months do you devote to this baby you're creating? You live and breathe and dream it! Then you submit it and hold your breath hoping an editor will also fall in love with your story. What if they don't like it? What if they aren't willing to take a chance that readers will like it enough to make it worth their while publishing it? So many questions rattle around in your head, over and over in the weeks - or months - it takes to hear from the publisher. Maybe it wasn't as good as I thought? Maybe I've lost my touch and I can't write anymore? Maybe I just haven't got what it takes to be an author. Finally get you get that phone call - or e-mail. They do want it!! But - and here's the caveat: It is way too long. Things are tough in the publishing world right now and they need you to cut 100 pages from this work you've put your heart and soul into for the past year. 100 pages! That's a 4th of the book! Pare it down from 124,500 words to 90,000 words. You pour over the reader's evaluation sheets. One hated it - nothing redeeming in the whole work. One really liked it - one was totally neutral. What didn't they like? Guess that should be the first thing to go. Scenes, pages, whole sections deleted! Have you ever had to thin peaches? You must take those tiny babies from the tree that are clustered too close to one another to leave room for the remaining ones to grow big. I hate pulling those baby peaches off the tree. It makes me feel like I'm committing homicide! And that's exactly how I feel taking out all those thousands of words that I worked so hard to get just right. All the research, all the hours at the computer, gone with a single swipe of the delete key. Granted, it should make the story better, sharper, more concise, just like thinning all those baby peaches will leave the tree with fewer peaches that will grow big and juicy and be more wonderful than they could be otherwise. But I still feel like I'm committing homicide when I delete all those parts of the story I worked so hard to create. Back to the edits and killing my babies.