Last night was the most productive writing session that I’ve had for months. By the time I was done last night, I had more than 1,500 new words to my credit, not counting some words I added and decided to take out again.
At the start of the night, I was about to try and spruce up or revise something I had written previously. I knew that I had to do it, but I wasn’t all that excited about that prospect, even though I knew the scene I was thinking about would be vital to the story. What had stuck in my mind that day were two scenes I knew were vital, that I had to have in there – my main character saying goodbye to his brother, and convincing a friend to visit him over the phone.
For this book, I decided to put into play a saying I had heard a year or so ago from Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. #10 is:
Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
For me and my past work, it’s been difficult to determine what is good to skip, especially when you revise after the fact. To make it simpler, I’ve decided on this project to reverse engineer the process. I am writing what I consider to be the absolute critical scenes of the book first, then continue to add on scenes that I find of less importance. It’s almost like if J.R.R. Tolken decided to just write the part of the book where Frodo and Sam are off to take the ring to the volcano and added everything on later.
I’m feeling good about my decision, and not just because I’m feeling less bored. I’m very serious about trying to keep this book under 100,000 words. If I just concentrate on the parts that I want to share about the story, it’s more likely that those 100,000 words will count and not just be filler, like I found a lot of the first draft of The Holy Fool to be. I’m getting more excited by this the further I get into it.