Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Revision Rant


Spy satellites have revealed the remains of ancient Mayan ruins from outer space. Archaeologists are now excavating buildings, murals, precious remnants of a dead civilization.

I feel much like an archaeologist myself. I'm still chopping vines and swatting bugs as I revise the jungle that is Waking Beauty. Right now, I find little beauty in the process. Underneath the detritus are good bones, but I really need my own spy satellite to unearth the best stuff. Sometimes I think it would have been easier to construct a brand new pyramid. *g*

I am actually unwriting, since the editor has requested a much shorter manuscript. I've killed off countless characters and scenes---over 25,000 words and I haven't shed a tear. By far the most fun I've had is with the "find" search of Word. I typed in "ly"---and lo and behold, about 25,000 adverbs popped up. I'm exaggerating slightly. See, I'm still adverb-prone.

It's taken almost four weeks from the time I won the contest to where I am now---which is almost finished. There's a ream of paper, a new ink cartridge and a priority mail envelope ready. Then we'll see if WB is ready...or rejected.

Aside from adverbs, I forbid myself to ever type the word "blush" again. What's your bad writing habit? What drives you crazy when you read?

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

17 comments:

Maggie Robinson said...

I don't want to read the word inexorable again either. :)

Gillian Layne said...

I realLY honestLY have no earthLY idea what everyone's issue is with all these loveLY adverbs....

Ummm--'look'. My characters were 'looking' everywhere. Made me want to slap the lot of them.

Waking Beauty will rock! Can't wait to see it on the shelves :)

BernardL said...

Words like 'blush'. :)

RevMelinda said...

From the book I'm currently reading (2 or 3 pages at a time before I lose consciousness at bedtime)--the word "blatant" (sometimes found as "blatantLY," LOL). (As in, "he stared at her blatantly," or "his blatant desire"). Somehow it doesn't read well for me--it doesn't have the texture of a historical, much less a Scottish Highland historical!

Belinda said...

I'm writing a British historical, and I find I rely on the words "rather," "quite," and "indeed" a shameful amount of the time. Rest assured those will probably all go away in revisions.

terrio said...

I can't just type a direct verb. People are "going to" do something or she is "having to" say something. Why can't they just do and say? I ask you?

And I throw the word "just" in everywhere. See, I even did it above!

Janga said...

My worst failing is the conviction that if I can say something in five words, I can say it better in ten. And description--I love writing about the music of water, the curve of flower petals, the caress of spring breezes. Ugh! Then I have to go back and cut two words for every one I keep.

Maggie Robinson said...

I love all your flaws and foibles...and share QUITE a lot of them. For me though, it's not the word JUST but ONLY. My characters LOOK, study and gaze a lot too. I am BLATANTLY BLUSHING at the unnecessary words that clutter everything up!

RevMelinda said...

LOL Terrio, if you were from Texas like my mom you'd always be "fixing to" do something: "I'm fixing to go to the store" or "I'm fixing to make dinner." Oh. Sorry. That would be fixin'. Hold the G.

Tessa Dare said...

Oh dear. I have so many adverbs, it's not funny. Plenty of blushing, too. Quite, rather, indeed - check, check, check. Sheesh, I really should have read this post before I sent in my manuscript.

Well, there are always edits!

terrio said...

Rev - my daughter was born in Arkansas so she is always fixin' to do things or she's going to do them right quick. LOL! The only thing I picked up (other than this weird hybrid accent) is shoot far which tranlated means sh*t fire. LOL!

irisheyes said...

LOL, Maggie, I LOVE your quote!!

I'm gonna just cop to all of the above. I also seem to have a problem with wanting to think for the reader. I like to hold their hand and walk them very slowly and painfully through the whys of my H/H actions. Very, very bad. I keep repeating to myself... Show don't tell!

Maggie Robinson said...

I love how we're all guilty of something...makes me feel so much better!

Elyssa Papa said...

Et tu, shoulders, Maggie?

Cross his/her arms. Cobalt blue eyes.

Too many words/phrase to count.

Maggie Robinson said...

LOL, Ely. The infamous shoulders! But cobalt blue eyes are better than sapphire blue or emerald green or ruby red lips....

Santa said...

Everyone breaths too much in a lot of what I've been reading lately. Sharp intakes. Rapid breaths.

Take deep breaths already!

My heroine seems to glisten quite a bit and my hero scowls so much I may have to sign him up for an anger management group.

Maggie Robinson said...

Santa, I hope she's glistening from the hero's amorous attentions! Scowling is better than smirking---people never seem to use that word correctly---but then maybe I'm wrong.