When To Hit Delete

Amy Sue Nathan at Women’s Fiction Writers wrote a wonderful post about making every word important to the story. I’ve been adding and deleting my novel countless times, trying to create a unique story without the overused words I find, such as: was, I, took. etc.

Here’s a great quote from Amy: “The way I see it, as authors, we have two options: delete it or make it matter.” I have a word document for my deleted scenes, and have been pouring over my manuscript and asking myself, is this important or just useless words to the reader? As I read more books and write/edit my book, it seems easier to find my useless words and either delete it or improve it, maybe even add an additional small but important scene. My thesaurus and dictionary have been great friends to me as I search for better words to express my characters’ reactions to their problems.

Do you either delete or improve your story countless times like me? Do you copy and paste the deleted words to a separate document?

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13 thoughts on “When To Hit Delete

  1. Deleting and improving are essential. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have to do these things. I usually don’t keep a file of my deleted scenes. I’m kind of the dejunking queen. (I think it comes from all the times I’ve moved. lol)

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  2. I always finish one draft without doing any editing, then copy and paste things I want to keep into a blank document. That way, I never lose any of the words I’ve written. You never know when you might want them.

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  3. that’s really all I do is edit! Not just individuals words, sentences, patagrapsh, scenes. For me the first draft is like breathing, it’s effortless. The editing is the work, and that I’m in for the long haul.

    Good luck with it!

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  4. I do lots of deleting! I save scenes, sometimes sentences or lines of dialog. I’m trying to not save quite as much since I soon find myself drowning in files and draft versions.

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  5. When I edit I keep the original as is in a Word document, then each revision/edit is saved as a ‘version’. Also, I do a fair amount of deleting–get it out!! ha ha But I find revising a challenge that gives me GREAT satisfaction once it is done just right.

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