Just kidding. I don’t miss deadlines. But, this week I made great strides toward that July 25th deadline of mine, as I
cut macerated edited rewrote transformed two pages of some important back story into—wait for it—a half page. This wasn’t easy, my friends. I had beta readers sad that the plan was to remove this flashback of Teddi’s. They loved it. I loved it. My challenge then, was to work it into the story in a more seamless fashion without losing the true meaning and some of the details.
No hocus pocus involved. This was manual labor.
And I love how it works, sounds, and feels.
I used something less like an ax and more like a scalpel. Or maybe it was like seeing the finished sculpture in the slap of marble. It was all there, I just had to chip away at the raw material to get to the end result. Use which ever image works for you.
I’ll be doing this again as I edit Left To Chance, and since I enjoy seeing old things in new ways, this is fun for me. It’s like turning the story upside down in order to be able to imagine it another way — because I’ve been writing it and thinking about it a certain way since last year.
This is just one way of killing one of our darlings, isn’t it? That’s not always about axing a character, or a plotline. Killing our darlings can be as simple and as complex as deleting our own words that don’t belong, whether it’s purple prose or dialogue tags or too much back story (who me?).
Speaking of dialogue (so punny am I!), if you missed my guest post on Writers In The Storm, it’s all about how I write and edit dialogue to make sure it serves the story and the reader. You’ll find out my dialogue tag theory (which is no, no, please don’t)! So, check it out and join the dialogue on dialogue ! (Did I mention I was awake at 4am today? It’s only going to get worse.)
Of course, just after I sent off the post, I came across a “she commanded,” while I was editing Left To Chance.
Which is the whole point of editing, isn’t it?
I’m a morning reader, and right now I’m lucky to be reading a early copy of ALL THE BEST PEOPLE by Sonja Yoerg which comes out in May 2017. You’re not going to want to miss this one, folks. The writing is just beautiful and the story — well — I’m not finished yet but the characters are compelling and I can’t wait to see what happens next. And right now, that’s all I need!
In addition to reading, I’m also listening to the audio book THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND. I listen to books when I exercise, clean, and fold laundry. All of the things I don’t like to do accompanied by one of the things I like to do best! I’ve only just started but I am enjoying the narrator, the unusual story line and the epistolary component to the book.
A few of my favorite epistolary novels:
LETTERS FROM SKYE by Jessica Brockmole (Sweeping historical fiction. A love story with vibrant prose!)
ELLA MINNOW PEA by Mark Dunn (The most creative and clever book I’ve ever read!)
GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer (The title should be enough, but there’s more!)
One day, when I can learn to say it, and then to spell it without spellcheck, I too, will write an epistolary novel.
Truth be told, I’ve lived an epistolary life (spelled it that time ON MY OWN, FOLKS) as I’ve had a penpal, Carol, since I was nine. You can read about it in the Chicago Tribune. The column was published nine years ago, but when you’ve been friends with someone for forty-three years, that’s nothing! Now, sometimes we’ll write three times a day and then many not again for three months. Sending photos is easier than ever it ever was. No extra airmail stamps!
To harness the idea of an epistolary novel, or even an element, I think I’ll just have to dig into my memory of the letters with Carol. I’m sorry I didn’t save them. The letters took time to compose, mail, and then to arrive, yet somehow it seems as if the first words were always “And then…” instead of Dear Carol or Dear Amy. We somehow picked up where we’d left off, even if much had happened in the interim. Our stories had no gaps, and we then had a shared story as well.
Not all penpal stories have happy endings, of course. Remember Big Blue Marble? I was matched with Cinderella Fu from China. She never wrote back.
Must’ve been the stepmother’s fault.
Two guest posts from award-winning women’s fiction authors this week: Amulya Malladi, author of A House For Happy Mothers and Amy Impellizziri, author of Lemongrass Hope!
Did you know you can follow me on Instagram? Because MITZI. (Click the camera-looking link in the upper left sidebar.)
If you’ve read The Good Neighbor, did you love Mrs. Feldman? Do you want a peek into Mrs. Feldman’s life? Leave your email address below, or email me, or send me a FB message or a Tweet, and I’ll send you a photo relevant to her special back story!
If you haven’t read The Good Neighbor, just let me know when you do! You won’t find any spoilers here, friends!
More next week on the writing life!