Swoon Author Cindy Anstey: Editing – Clearer Heads Prevail
A post in which Cindy Anstey discusses the importance of staying focused… her favorite bakery will not be reviewed
As I stated in my previous post, it is difficult not to share with readers every bright and shiny fact gleaned from hours of research. Surely, they will want to know everything I have learned… Not really. The reader cares about the characters and if they don’t, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Still, as much as I think I have honed the story to its finest—no superfluous facts—I am always surprised (always being twice) when I receive my revision letter and discover that I have, indeed, veered away from the core of the story.
Case in point #1: Love, Lies and Spies in its original form followed Spencer as he completed his mission in France, following the false communiqué and then verifying that it was placed in the right hands. I included fascinating tidbits, clandestine maneuvers and pumped up the drama… however, what I had also done was take Spencer away from Juliana. There was no shared experience. When Juliana learned of Spencer’s adventure, it was a classic case of telling not showing—all born from my desire to include information that was not really necessary to the story. I hadn’t realized my mistake until the clearer heads at Swoon Reads came to my rescue. Fortunately, Holly and Christine stepped in to help me around the large pothole that I had unintentionally dug.
Case in point #2: Thinking that I was not guilty of the same error with Duels & Deception, I was surprised to learn that I had again added superfluous facts. This time, I was overly descriptive and had slowed the pace. The reader did not really need full depictions of all the gowns that the ladies of the house wore, nor the rooms, carriages, gardens etc. It was historically correct, but excessive. Thank heaven for Emily and those clearer heads. I did not have to cut everything, just enough to prevent the drag… and get rid of the yawn effect.Editing is a wonderful process. It is not something I ever expected to enjoy—thought it more of a necessary evil. But how can you not like a process that takes a slightly off-kilter beloved object and not only straightens it out, but makes it shine? Thank heaven for the clearer heads of our Swoon Reads team!