Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cutting back-story is never easy

I’m back to working on my mystery novel after taking a few months off to get my act together around here so I’m ready to move.  There aren’t any bites on the house yet, but you never know when that will happen, and believe me, you can accumulate a lot of crap over the years.  This is especially true if you’re like me and have explored many art mediums in your life.  I have several “businesses” in my garage.

Anyway, back to the novel.  First, I’m ashamed of myself because I didn’t continuously work on this book, although I do realize I have more of a critical eye after letting it sit a while and then reading it again.  I can see some things to change, but it’s hard to be brutal and take out a lot.  I tend to let the back-story carry me away at times, I guess, probably much like the rest of you.  I think you do need some in there, but not too much.  Finding the happy middle ground is the hard part.

I’m thankful to have two gals reading this for me and helping me along the way with their perspective as they read the story.  I can’t tell you how much of a difference a new set of eyes can make.

I’m done with the second rewrite of my first chapter.  I was able to delete half of it, if you can imagine that.  I know the rest of it will be in as bad of shape too as the first chapter.  This book is sixty-one chapters long, but of course, that will probably end up considerably shorter once it’s finished.

My advice is to be brutal when you’re doing this.  Ask if the passages make your story better and if it advances the story.  Be honest with yourself.  Keep in the back of your mind that you have to keep the reader interested.  If you can’t part with all the hours of work you put in writing all that back-story in the first place, but you know you have to cut it out to better your story, remember you can paste it into a separate file if it makes you feel better about it.  That way it’s just separate and still saved on your computer somewhere.

I have no idea how long it will take to go through this whole story, but I look at everything as a learning experience. 

This first mystery book was my NaNo project for 2012.  I wrote the sequel as my NaNo project for 2013 and I’m intending on doing the next book in this trilogy series as my NaNo project for 2014 in November, unless I’m moving and can’t write my 1667 words a day.

Of course, none of this stuff is edited and ready to publish yet, but it will be one day.  I guess I have big plans for these books and I don’t give up, so eventually they’ll be out there, even if it’s only for me.

You writers should never give up either.  Write for yourself if nothing else, but write.

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