Saturday, 18 February 2006

Editing and plasters

I've decided that cutting things out of a work in progress (wip) is a bit like removing a plaster - terrifying before, painful during, but rather satisfying when it's all over.

I've been hum-ing and hah-ing over the last fortnight about how to change a major plot element in my latest story. My poor plot board looked bald. A third of my main plot points disappeared, my black moment fell down a black hole and all the little bitty cards got binned or shuffled.

I decided to replace the missing plot line with an idea that my heroine had known the hero breifly before the story starts, but he doesn't recognise her. It was a bit similar to the early story and I think I needed it as a security blanket. So I wrote a flashback for chapter 3 and started editing the rest of the seven and a half chapters I'd already done.

And then I got to chapter six, and I kept thinking, "I've got too much back story", but I didn't want to lose my flashback - it sets things up really nicely for a future scene which I knew would have a big emotional pay off. I knew in my heart of hearts I didn't really need the "shared history" element and, although I really liked my flashback to when the heroine was sixteen, I got up the courage to cut the lot. And then I had to go back through the wip and remove all the bits that referred to the flashback...

But, I feel so much better now! Cutting all the dead wood has left the story lean and faster paced. And I wrote a brand new scene today!

So that is my thought for the day: never be afraid if your delete key. We often know when we should use it, but hesitate. It's just a matter of summoning up the courage and ripping...

Go on, you know you want to.

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Valentine's Day

I awoke to my traditional Valentine's Day breakfast this morning. My hubby insists on getting croissants and strawberries every year. Yum.

And I got 'Pride and Prejudice' on DVD. Also yum.

I live fairly close to Groombridge Place, the location used as the Bennet family home in the film. And, lo and behold, in July 2004 when we were taking the kids on a day out we visited Groombridge where they have The Enchanted Forest in the grounds (Cowboy forts, Indian camps, Goblin villages, birds of prey etc. See the Groombridge site for more). I noticed a film crew at the front of the house, and when I discovered they were filming a new film version of P&P there I got totally over-excited!

I could have stayed all day peering at the goings on. I could see the actors from across the moat (the picture shows roughly where I spied from), but not close enough to tell who was who. It wasn't until I got home I realised I'd watched Kiera Knightly and Donald Sutherland among others.

So now, every time I watch the scene where Jane drives away from Longbourne with all her family waving goodbye to her on the steps, I can think to myself, "I was there! I watched them do that!". I'm so chuffed.