Friday, May 31, 2013

Line by Line

Now Playing: STAR TREK THEME by Michael Giacchino

Ok, so during my last post I (rather extensively) commented on procrastinating my writing responsibilities, particularly editing my novel called "The Rescue of Dr. Zale." Looking back, I think the main reason is that the novel, written when I was in high school (not THAT long ago), needed extensive revision toward the end. In brief, I decided to have a character live who originally died, and I thought the main climax was too juvenile and had to be completely cut and redone.

One of my main goals was to cut cut cut it down. Compress the writing. I had edited it before, a while ago. I forget how old I was--maybe nineteen, and I'm 23 now--and it ended up 1,000 words longer. A round of query letters to agents came back fruitless. I put it in a bin and wrote another novel. Then W1S1 2012 happened.

My prime objective in dropping back to W1S1 monthly was to have the time to edit longer pieces. So I got to work right away, and then lost steam when I reached the final chapters, and completion seemed daunting. I crawled forward, word by word, line by line, and this past weekend I finally finished it.

This is what it looks like: 

 And here's a picture of a random page, to show my line-by-line editing:

In the end, the only way to do it was line by line. In all, I cut out 9,000 words. The draft in the picture is 25 pages longer than the electronic final copy. I have a lot more confidence in this version, so we'll see what the agents have to say. 

The coolest part about this project was realizing how far I've come since I wrote the first draft and edited it. Back then, I always put in far more than I took out; completing these edits with the goal of cutting really helped get my mind right, and the result is much more impressive. 

(Although it does make me wonder, If I look at it again in four years, will I think it's as bad as I thought the first draft was?)

Glad it's done! But as always, there's more work to be done. As always, on to the next project. 


  1. I know what you mean -- looking back at our work and realizing how far we've progressed, but cringing at what that will mean a few years from now. All I can say is, keep going full steam ahead, Devin. I took a major break from writing (10 years) while in college/early career. I told myself I didn't have time to write. Malarky! I can't imagine where you'll be by the time you're my age (37), but I have a feeling it's going to be freakin' awesome.

  2. Yeah, you probably will look back in four years and think that - but that's a good thing. Shows you're improving and growing as a writer all the time. I don't think that ever stops.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys. Hopefully that hindsight realization of progression will remain present throughout my life and career--I never want to stagnate, never want to get stale. It's a rare writer who accomplishes that, but I'm willing to rise to the challenge.