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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Is It Gardening Time?

I finally broke down and pulled weeds yesterday. I hate pulling weeds, but I had no choice. One of the weeds was about to become a tree. (It was on the side of the house that no one can see, but still, it really needed to go!)
As I look outside now, I am quite satisfied with my flower beds, except for the one right in front of the house. It's weed-free, but it's too full. Despite having trimmed them, the shrubs have gotten way too big for the space they are in. I'm wondering if maybe it's time to get rid of one or two of them. They are beautiful spireas, and I'd hate to see them go, but I guess I could transplant them to another location.
It got me thinking about my completed MS. I have spent months getting rid of the weeds and sculpting the bushes, but it's still too long. One of my rejection letters even stated that as the reason for the rejection. Is it time for me to remove some of the shrubs and get rid of entire scenes? I'm just not sure I can do that. I have nurtured and brought to life each and every scene. I'd really hate to see any of them go.
What about you? Have you ever had to cut more than you wanted to?
As you ponder that question, check out the Slumpbuster Challenge story. Click on the penguin in the sidebar to add a sentence.

16 comments:

strugglingwriter said...

I can't keep a few of my shrubs/bushes under control, no matter what I do. Plus, one of them has poison ivy growing inside. They are monstrosities that I'm not sure what to do with. I'll probably remove them, if I ever get the free time.

MzzLily said...

I have a garden that's way out of control! Thinning is always a big decision. You put a lot of thought into the garden layout and the pages. With the shrubs, you can transplant them and enjoy them in another location... Not true for written words. It's not like a paragraph or chapter will stand alone in a different corner. It's like digging up the shrub and tossing it into the fire... A very tough process. Good luck.

MeganRebekah said...

How long is your MS? What efforts have you made to trim it back so far (like getting rids of thats, justs, unncessary adverbs, passive sentences)? If you haven't done that, it can literally cut thousands of words without deleting a scene.

If you have cleaned that out, then you do need to cut bigger chunks.

Ways to do that:
Analyze your characters and see if any can be combined into one character
Same for scenes. Can you combine any two scenes into one bigger scene?
Look for any info dumps or chunks of backstory that can be tossed.

Good luck!

quixotic said...

Great analogy weeding and editing. I cringe when weeding my MS. It's hard sometime to get all of those weeds out without accidentally pulling out a flower. =p

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I've had to cut zoodles in both my novels and flower beds. I've been doing a lot of gardening lately and was thinking the same thing, and also how much care both activities require to turn out nice.

Strange Fiction said...

Gardening and writing are both passions of mine so I love your analogy! I’ve got a couple on the go but they need pruning lol. My MS also needs trimming and rearranging. I’m working up the courage to get out the big shears and the shovel, because I know that most shrubs thrive after a good thinning out. If only we could find a way to transplant the words we have so lovingly tended…

Patti said...

I've become better at pulling weeds, even the pretty ones.

Honestly you need to take a step back and look at your manuscript and be willing to cut those scenes that don't progress the story. It was hard but it had to be done.

Amber Lynae said...

I hope that my hatred for weeding doesn't indicate how I will do at editing my WIP. But there is definitely something there with the analogy of gardening and writing.

Karen said...

I do know what you're saying about having to cut scenes. In my current WIP I was really struggling with the second chapter. I loved the way it played out and the backstory that it gave on the three main characters. But it was just too long and I felt like I still had more backstory I wanted to fit in. But it was imperative that I do it all in this chapter because I wanted the reader to have all the necessary backstory before continuing on with the plot.

I finally cut out the first ten pages of the chapter and started with a scene I had only glossed over in the original. It works so much better now and I'm able to develop the characters at the same level, but with a lot fewer words. I did have to cut some passages that, I thought, were really well-written. But I'm satisfied with the way it turned out.

Have you had a few beta readers check it out and make some suggestions? Sometimes it really helps to step back and let someone else tell you what they think is or isn't working/necessary.

Cindy said...

My little garden is way too full right now and looks a little chaotic. I love it. I'm just happy everything is growing.

Your post made me wonder how long your manuscript is. So far I haven't had to cut anything back too much. Usually in my edits I end up adding more because I always skimp in description in my first draft. I wonder what will happen when I get my first edit back from my editor, though. That manuscript is hovering just below 80,000 and I worry that it will be too short if too much is cut. We'll see!

Diane said...

Very sad when you have to edit and cut after all the love was put into it! Hope it works out for you.

WhisperingWriter said...

I've had to cut huge chunks of my novel. It breaks my heart at times but I know it's for the best so the novel can flow better.

Lazy Writer said...

Thanks for all your advice!

La Fleur said...

It is true, as everyone has already mentioned, weeding and editing are one in the same. My novel is long too. I've 'weeded' it down to 325,000 words! LOL I removed whole scenes. One I am considering 'transplanting' back in one chapter, thinning and spreading it out through the novel. Funny that I am reading this... I was just toying with the idea this morning on the train.

As for your bushes, I would transplant those as well. No sense in a good bush going to waste!

Lazy Writer said...

Whoa! 325,000 words???? That's a lot of words! Thanks for joining my blog!

Danyelle said...

I generally work backwards. Starting with about 50-60K and filling things in as I go through the revision process.

Hah! I have weeds that aspire to become beautiful trees. Fortunately my Superman loves pulling weeds. :D