One of the necessities in fiction writing (well, any writing … but especially fiction) is self-editing. Before anything gets sent to an agent or editor or even a writing buddy (hi Ann!), it's always best to have things as polished as possible. And this means shoving one's ego out of the way.
As most people know, I'm enamored to the point of obsessed over the intricacies of homesteading skills and rural living. Naturally this reflects in my books.
Currently I'm revising the Amish romance manuscript Plain Protection in accordance to changes made in the synopsis. This is the time to smooth out problems, improve dialogue, and make sure the story progresses at a suitable clip.
So whenever I get too involved in describing how to can peaches or milk a cow, I have to ask whether it's appropriate to the plot or not. After all, I'm not writing a do-it-yourself manual, I'm writing a story.
During the blitz of NaNoWriMo when participants have to slam 1666 words per day on the page or they fall too far behind, writing intricate explanations of various components of homesteading is fine and dandy – even welcome, because it helps make word count. But when it comes time to start editing, out it goes. Choppity chop chop.
And oh, it's painful. Of course everyone wants to know how to make mozzarella cheese, step by step! is my cry of agony. But I'm wrong, because those step-by-step instructionals don't advance the plot. So…choppity chop chop.
I just ordered a book I saw recommended on my agent's website entitled "Self Editing for Fiction Writers." I haven't received it yet so I can't vouch, but let us hope it makes the choppity chop chop part a little less painful.