18 March 2014

Writing Exercises: Declutter

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I'm skipping ahead to the eleventh writing exercise, because that's where I am with the actual work, right now. I will probably go back and do some of the exercises that I have skipped, as they become relevant, just in case you were wondering what happened to all the stuff on the list in between my posts.

Today is about decluttering, and that's part of the rewriting process that I'm in with my first draft manuscript. I have temporarily set aside my second book's development, in favor of rewriting the book that has all its bones in place.

Rewriting/decluttering is quite an interesting process. For me, it's not entirely about eliminating unnecessary fluff (as the exercise post would suggest), though there is some of that. For me, it's more taking the bones of the story and filling them out. I'm going through and identifying the questions that the current manuscript leaves unanswered. I'm finding loose threads and deciding if the thread goes or gets more fully woven into the book.

The biggest decluttering moment for me was deciding what the key component is of the story, and it was one of those "aha!" moments when I remembered that the story I was writing is God's story. It changed the impetus of the whole book for me and released me to make changes. I have been cutting things that I was very pleased with (at least writing-wise) because they don't work with the overall theme. It's very freeing.

I've decided to take one story line at a time and address each individually and entirely before moving on to the next story line. I found that there were questions leftover in each story, and the theory is that completing each story individually will most likely help me to end up with a coherent book. I'm down to the last chapter or so of the story line I was working on yesterday, and that feels pretty good. Yesterday, after a hardcore workday, I spent nearly as many hours rewriting as I had in my full-time job, and managed to work through draft 2 of five chapters. Let me tell you, I was fried, but in a good way, when it came to bedtime. My brain is still sizzling.

My estimate for the book is that draft 3 will go out to my test readers for review. The second draft should be pretty good, but the third draft should have all but the minutest of details addressed. My current intuition is that I'll be comfortable receiving feedback on that version. I'm hopeful that only copyediting will be needed at that point, and I'll be able to move on to publishing and focusing on book 2 (and the rest of the series).

Making progress,

{This writing exercise is the eleventh from "15 Habits of Great Writers," which I came across on Pinterest.}

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