Thursday, January 8, 2009

13 to Life: Body Count: 1

So I'm in a state of editing and tweaking "13 to Life." I'm sitting on more than 50,000 words with a couple scenes (two major and a few minor) I know I still need to insert before I send it to my Private Writers' Group (not so private that you can't still join, btw--scroll to this page's bottom) for their input.

And today the first character bit the dust. It was almost an accidental death--hm, more properly an accidental life. So she's simply part of the collateral damage that happens when you're editing and tightening a story. I try to pay pretty close attention to who in my cast is helping the story--or aiding in the character development of a primary character. Unfortunately for Tatiana (what? you don't remember reading about Tatiana either? thank goodness ;-) her mere existence would have been more problematic than her absence.

This is one of the troubles that comes from "writing by the seat of your pants" or writing organically (and no, Dad, "organically" doesn't mean I'm using a wooden pencil to write ;-). You write quickly, so you need to take a little longer in the editing (sometimes).

I get to a certain point in a story and I ask characters the following things:
1.) are you helping or hindering the progression of my plot?
2.) are scenes with you slowing down my characters' evolution?
3.) are you any better than simple decoration?

If they aren't helping in some way, I edit them out (or hand them a red shirt and list them as "expendable ensigns" ;-). Most times there aren't many (often not any) that disappear under the cruel movements of my Back Space, but it happens.

The main problem comes down to tracking down and eradicating every mention of an unnecessary character. Does it take a fine-tooth comb?--yeah, and fresh eyes.

So, as I continue getting "13 to Life" exactly the way I want and need it to be so publication is not only possible--it's essentially required--you may note one other character hitting what they call in film "the cutting room floor." But I shouldn't say anything else, just in case... ;-)

Take care!

PS--I'll be posting a mangled chart regarding my choices here soon I think--it just doesn't paste easily.

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