Monday, September 17, 2012

Tales from Revising: Less isn't Alway More

Sailing away from Pylos, Greece - Photo by Ann Kopchik
I haven't been around much at all on this blog, and I do apologize for that. Partly, I've been swamped editing for Entangled Publishing and partly, I've been swamped because I sold a book.

Yup. I sold my erotic paranormal romance to Loose Id. My story is about a grieving sculptor who meets a forest fae while on a trans-Atlantic cruise. So what's a forest fae doing on a big boat in the middle of the ocean? Hunting vampires, of course.

Anyway, so there's a bit of news.

I just finished my first round of revisions with my editor and have learned something:

Less is not always more.

Good action scenes (and like it or not, love scenes are action scenes) need to have three components: the actions of the characters, what the character is feeling physically, and the emotions of the character.

I had a very bad habit with this novel of describing only the physical actions of the characters and skimping out on the feeling and emotional aspects. Which, you know, is why we read books rather than watch TV or movies. Books let you crawl into the head of a character the way visual media can't.

So, despite also cutting out a bunch of things from my manuscript, I also added nearly 3,000 words.

The odd thing is that I know this. As an editor, I push for it with my authors. Show me more. Give me more emotion (especially with heroes). Let me know what is happening in their head, what they feel.

But as a writer, I get blinded a little lot by the fact that I know my characters and of course they're feeling stuff and having emotions and all that... and it should be obvious, right?

Except that unless it's in the words, it's not. The reader only has the words. They don't have the direct link to the writer's brain.

So sometimes less isn't more.


Leslie Ann aka LA said...

Welcome back and CONGRATS!
That is so awesome. Release dates, please.

This post is so timely for me, I'm adapting a screenplay to a novel and it's ... an ACTION ADVENTURE. The action is a book is soooo much harder to write and now I'm posting your post on my computer.

You must be a mindreader.


AnnK said...

Hi LA,

Thank you! The book should be out Mid November. I'll have more of a firm date and a cover later. :)

I'm glad the post came at a good time!

Donnell said...

Ann, congratulations on your sale. Sounds intriguing! I also added more words to my debut novel. I'm a minimalist writer. Keep up the good work on both writing and editing!