Reality Check For Authors #12: The Mighty Red Pen


“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.”
—Roald Dahl, WD

You may not have noticed, but I currently seem to be on a roll about manuscripts (here & here), especially re-writing them. Why, might you ask?  Because I’m in the middle of one silly. That’s right. I’m currently eye-ball deep in the middle of re-writing my novel and I can tell you from this side of my laptop, re-writing is harder than getting down the first draft. Now is when all the crap hits the fan, the rubber hits the road and I have to decide whether what I’ve written merits keeping, needs to change or  be cut out altogether. (Sorry for the run on cliché’s, but if you haven’t figured it out by now, blogs are the only place an author can use them and not be crucified – so I do.)

To date I’ve cut 25K from the original and have plans to cut 25K more.

Today’s Reality Check For Authors – don’t be afraid to weld you’re trusty red pen like Arrow Flynn’s sword;  cutting, slicing, dicing and chopping that manuscript down to a lean, mean story that will grab your reader’s attention and when the last sentence is read, have them begging for more.

FYI: I would personally suggest waiting at least 2-3 weeks (some authors suggest longer) before even reading through the first draft.  Otherwise you’ll either still think its brilliant (which in all likelihood it is, but why not at least pretend to be humble), or you’re your worst critique and think everything that comes out of your brain is crap (which can’t possibly be true or you would have never started the book in the first place). Distance and time really do bring perspective. So does a shot of Tequila, but not everyone’s a Hemingway.

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