My recent house move has seen me sorting, packing, moving, unpacking and sorting once more, it has seen me happy, miserable, delighted, exhausted, on my knees, pulling my hair out, burying my head in my hands and, at one point, I thought I might go insane – think ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’, a pair of pants and two pencils…
However, I survived – Yay!
What has this to do with writing? Well, as I rummaged through my possessions and clothing, deciding what should come with me and what should face either the dustbin or the charity shop, I decided this was a bit like editing.
It went something like this…
|Funky blouse, worn once to a party but a bit too bright for anything else.||Charity shop||Eccentric character put into novel just to liven things up, not really doing anything but just liked the look of them.||Deleted completely|
|Beautiful dress, very elegant, bought for a wedding, again worn once but keeping it because there’s bound to be another wedding soon.||Keep but with a deadline for wearing it or it goes. Taking up too much room.||Descriptive writing, setting the scene but went off at a flowery tangent describing the countryside. A bit too drawn out and not moving story along.||Cut the scene down. More concise writing, so it is more in keeping with the genre.|
|Plenty of t-shirts, of varying ages and wear, mostly black or white.||Dustbin. Have definitely seen better days.||Secondary characters – too many of them, some of them boring and not earning their keep on the page.||Merged two of them into one. Heroine only needs one best-friend.|
|Favourite trousers but too tight, if only I could get back into them…||Keep as inspiration. Pin a photo of them on the fridge in new house as a reminder and incentive.||Have a great character that I really like but can’t quite get them to fit into WIP.||Deleted but saved in a separate file for future WIP.|
|Skirt bought in a sale. A bit plain and not very exciting.||Up-cycle! Jazz it up with some brightly coloured appliqué.||Not enough dialogue or white space. Narrative just goes on and on.||Characters given much more to say … Show and don’t tell. Their personalities are shining through better now.|
Hard as it was to be ruthless with my packing, it was even harder being ruthless with my WIP but I do feel that both exercises were very worthwhile. Now I’m in my new home, I just have to do it all again with the unpacking and, no doubt, do it all again with my WIP.