Monday, 9 February 2009

Cutting and pasting

I am still deep into the rewrite. I work on a computer and there are good and bad things about that way of working when it comes to doing alterations.

The good thing is that you can move whole chunks of texts - whole chapters if necessary - by cutting and pasting. The bad thing is that you can move whole chunks of text - whole chapters sometimes - by cutting and pasting.

What I mean is, it can be too easy to change things. The text starts to come apart at the seams because it is no longer a solid mass, but a collection of floating paragraphs. And a novel needs to hang together.

I'm not just talking about plot (or the story, if you object to the word plot) here, though obviously that is very important. I want my work to read well - to sound good. Messing about with the structure of the book can play havoc with those nice rhythms you created in the first draft.

That said, I think that radical change is better than the odd tweak here and there. As long as you always keep a copy of the original you can always revert. You certainly get nowhere by being precious about your own text.

Better to be brave than tentative.


  1. ooh, thank you, mid-edit myself that's exactly what i needed to hear!

  2. Good to hear from you Maggi. Hope all's well. And best of luck with the book!