No, this year I chose to edit/revise. I took time off work, rolled up the sleeves (OK, I put on long johns and wool socks to combat the cold basement office), focused on making my manuscript sharper, and got to work. BIC HOK KYD (butt in chair, hands on keyboard, kill your darlings). And I had help.
Muse raised her head from the notes she was taking. Her voice quivered as she asked, "What are you doing? I thought we were opening a new document this week?"
"No, sorry. We need to trim some fat." I double clicked on Microsoft Word.
She straightened her shoulders, her full attention on the laptop screen. "Fat? What fat? Oh, don’t tell me you’re revising Lady Bells?"
Evil Editor (from this point on to be known as EE) materialized on my other shoulder. He rubbed his hands together. "Oh, good. There’s lots of fat there to trim."
"I beg your pardon?"
"You heard me."
"You and Janet have already had your way with my masterpiece. There’s nothing left to edit out." Muse sniffled.
"We took out all those adverbs and adjectives, pure fluff if you ask me."
"I’m didn’t and they’re not fluff. They describe things. They paint a picture for the reader." Tears pooled in her eyes.
"Yeah, the reader isn’t stupid."
Indignation halted Muse’s liquid sadness. "I never said the reader was stupid."
"Which is exactly why all those over-the-top dialogue tags had to go, too."
Her arms crossed over her chest, her eyes narrowed. "Said is a very boring word."
"Stop it, both of you. I’m trying to work."
Silence descended, but it was short lived.
"She’s done a good job tightening up the point of view."
"Why thank you, EE." I kept typing.
Muse harrumphed and turned away. EE stared hard at the screen, short chortles of glee erupting whenever I hit the delete key.
Hours later, Muse, tired of pouting, spun around to see what we were fiddling with. She shouted in my ear, "Oh, my, God! You’re cutting the entire scene?"
"Why do we need to keep it?" EE faced Muse.
"It’s a heart to heart with her father. They discuss her very bad habit of eavesdropping. They discuss her fear of intimacy. They discuss her anxiety of leaving home and moving to a place she knows nothing about."
"Blah, blah, blah!"
I highlighted the entire scene and hit the delete key. Muse gagged. EE danced a happy dance on my shoulder. I moved to the next section that needed cut.
"NO!" Muse held her hands over her heart. "You are not going to delete that."
EE stopped dancing long enough to check the screen. "Finally. I begged for the wedding scene to get cut 5 edits ago. It’s too long, too descriptive, too much in his head."
"But it shows longing, and describes her dress, and foreshadows how much they will love each other later." Big teardrops ran unchecked down Muse’s cheeks.
"And that part, too. Kill it. Kill it."
"I can’t believe you’re doing this, that you’re listening to him. My words, my beautiful, beautiful words."
And that was Day 1! I can’t say by the end of the week that my muse and evil editor were getting along any better. Some days I found myself siding with EE, ruthlessly cutting and tightening. Other days, Muse and I had some bonding moments and we worked together to combine scenes to make the story better. To move the plot forward! Because that is what ‘Killing Your Darlings’ is all about. And throughout the bloody mess, I believe the three of us have created more believable, angst-ridden characters. Their goals, motivations, and conflicts are clearer and that makes the black moment that much more sweet ("In a really sinister, heart wrenching way," Muse adds).
No questions today, but feel free to comment on editing, BIAW, or what you plan on working on over the weekend.