Sunday, June 8, 2014

Editing Advice Wanted

No clever title this time, just looking to solicit some advice or opinions on editing approaches from the Typosphere-at-large.

I'm struggling to get through the initial re-write of last November's NaNoWriMo draft. I used OCR as I went, so I have a largely clean digital copy of my typescript, but I'm still devoting a little time to go through it and clean up. Where I'm getting bogged down now is trying to apply some coherence to the thing. It's a series of short comedic episodes, told from the point of view of a blowhard narrator. I'm trying for a Twain/Wodehouse vibe here -- might as well aim high, right? -- but I'm also fighting with the tendency to pad out the text with details I omitted in the draft stage.

The result is that I'm bogged down on the first episode of about a half-dozen, and there's so much additional stuff in there that it's not interesting or funny. This is something of a problem!

So here's where the advice part comes in: I'm thinking about approaching this edit either by "reduction" or "inflation"

Reduction is what I'm sort-of doing now, but with less editing as I go, and more straight transcription. Just get everything together on the page, and then cut away that which isn't essential. This, to me, seems to be the classic editing approach. It feels slow, though, like I'm not moving, and the urge to tweak and tinker as I copy is strong.

Inflation would appease the impatient side of my brain that can't believe we're still in the first episode. Transcribe only the barest elements of the stories over, almost in outline form but with sentences, and then punch them up with details once the bones are in place. Give myself permission to gloss over for now, in the interest of getting through the work before the heat death of the universe.

Help? I clearly need a more stated direction than the one I have now, which is "spend some time on it every day." Spend some time, yes, but in what way? That's what's killing my interest.



notagain said...

I would go for the speedier method, but sprinkle in placeholders where you gloss over more substantial edits to see if at a later time you still think they are improvements.

rino breebaart said...

trust me, go with the reduction method. cut and paste all the excess wordy or repetitive stuff into a sep doc (slush pile), and file and forget it. Be brutal. It's easier/better in the long run to elaborate on good quality bones than on too much fat, to mangle metaphors.
But there's all that good stuff in there!
Yes, but it will be served better by trimming.

Cameron said...

I would have to read the manuscript in order to form an opinion, and would be glad to be a "beta reader" if you're interested in sharing. Please let me know.

Elizabeth H. said...

My gut tells me the reduction method is going to save you time in the long run, even if it seems slow now.