Friday, November 1, 2013
Writerly Tip #6: Prune Them and They Will Grow
At the very beginning of my querying process, an agent told me my ms was too long. I had to cut at least 40-thousand words.
It hurt, hurt, hurt, but the truth was, (And I secretly knew this) the cutting was a healthy, good thing.
What she told me was, cut the first 50 pages. You probably don't need them. Actually, what she said was, you the author needed to write those first 50 pages because they helped you get to know your characters and their backstory. But the book itself, the story itself, really doesn't need them.
And of course she was right.
I cut the first 50 pages, bleeding profusely as I did, and discovered a better book within.
I love what Whedon says because it reminds me of the wisdom of the First 50 Pages rule. Plus, he's right.
I've done that before too - when I found myself looped endlessly in a scene trying to make it make sense, I finally cut it and tried something different.
For those of you who garden, this analogy may work: prune them and they will grow.
Thanks to Buzzfeed for the list of 24 quotes from famous writers from whence this quote (and the inspiration for this post) comes.'