Revision is a laborious process for me. I know I’m supposed to love it like I love my broccoli, but by the third or fourth revision of a single work, I’m weary. So weary. So, so weary.
However, one good thing about the weariness is that I’m far less sentimental about the work, and that’s when something wonderful races into the revision process—The Slash.
Stephen King once said something to the effect that you need to cut out a lot, a whole lot, of your initial draft by the time you reach the final draft. Now, I’m just like you. My first thought is, “Well sure, that’s true for most people, but not me. My stuff is pretty darn perfect from the moment it leaves my fingertips. I don’t want to say I’m awesome, but, you know, I’m sort of awesome.”
But by the fourth or fifth revision, I start to realize that I’m not that awesome, that I have things in the work that simply don’t need to be there. Redundancies, unnatural dialogue, clarifications, unnecessary details—I commit every sin possible. And, because I’m so darn tired of the whole process, I have no qualms rectifying those sins by slashing them right out. If they are a problem, I no longer fight to keep them in, I just slash them. The result? A much faster, streamlined, fluid piece of writing that equates a better experience for the readership.
We all love our words, gang. We do. But for most of us, it’s not about the words, it’s about the story. It’s about maintaining a certain pace. It’s about keeping characters consistent. It’s about offering the reader an olive branch by only including those things that are relevant.
Go ahead. Start slashing away. You’ll take a sort of manic glee in it.
Or maybe that’s just me.