Diary of a Newbie Novelist

By JaneIsaac Diary of a Newbie Novelist, Submissions Comments Off on Diary of a Newbie Novelist

Feb. 2011

Every word counts. As writers, that’s what we are told, whether in fiction or non-fiction. It may be the best line in the world, your pride and joy – but does it add colour to the narrative? Does it really drive the story forward?

With these thoughts in mind I examined the suggested line by line edits on my manuscript. In some places I could see that I was being indulgent, holding on to precious words and phrases that I really liked, but weren’t essential to the story. They were the easy ones.

Others I didn’t want to part with. You know those odd lines you come up with in the shower, on long lazy drives into the country, when something wakes you in the middle of the night? These had context. But when I read and re-read I realised that they weren’t all really necessary. So, with much reluctance, I took them out.

Finally, there were some words/lines that I simply couldn’t part with; those where I felt the story would suffer as a result. Here I adopted my original strategy, I left them in, explaining on occasion why they were essential. I guess this takes us back to the subjective side of reading, this was one editor’s opinion.

It took me a long time and a lot of soul searching to complete the line by line edits. Not because there were so many of them, really they were minor across a three hundred page script. More because I considered every one individually – was it really needed, does it drive the story forward, is it essential?

We are often told that most writing is re-writing and editing. With a deep breath I took the plunge. And it made me realise that sometimes I get so close to my work, that I don’t really see it…


Jane Isaac is very much a Newbie, she doesn’t even have a website yet (one day…) and with a day job, a family and a very demanding black Labrador, she squeezes her writing into every spare moment she gets. Join her on the rocky road from pen to publication – hopefully!

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