Saturday, 20 March 2010

Saturday's Writing Quotation Examination

Well, my book is written--let it go. But if it were only to write over again there wouldn't be so many things left out. They burn in me; and they keep multiplying; but now they can't ever be said. And besides, they would require a library--and a pen warmed up in hell.
~ Mark Twain

I love my stories... well of course I do. If I didn't, I would not have written them. Anyway, when reading this quote, it struck a note with me. I've written one book to completion. That doesn't mean a first draft, that means many drafts to publication. 

However, the story still plays over and over for me in my mind. I know all the details of the story, even though I never included many in the final draft, and when re-reading the novel, I often think of the parts I've excluded. I often wish I would have included this or that... added a section here or there. But, it's too late now.

Have you ever felt that way? After publication, have you ever looked back at your work and wished you'd included something more?

7 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm not that far along the learning curve yet. But, there are a lot of scenes that I don't include in the ms. They're important for me - but not for the reader, so they won't make the final version.

Joy said...

There's one book in particular that had 134k words before I slashed it to 99k. I wonder where some scenes are in the new version of the story, only to remember that I cut them, out of necessity. Will they ever come to life in another story? I dunno, but I sure hope so.

Tiffany Neal said...

I haven't made it to publication...one day!

But I'm actually in the process of doing reconstructive surgery on my completed MS.

There is lots that is being cut and a few places where additions are needed.

I can imagine that when a book is "completed", it is never fully complete in the author's eyes. It's too close to the heart...

Jim Murdoch said...

I think a lot of that will depend on the amount of time that has passed between writing and publication. Have you truly moved on? By the time my first book was published I’d written three others. I had to reread the thing from scratch like a normal reader to do the final edits. It was only then I realised that everything I had had to say about these two was on the page, there were no missing scenes, no important bits of back-story that I’d omitted. It’s like a friend – or indeed a partner – just how much about them do you need to know to have a happy and lasting relationship? Surely not everything. Just the bullet points if we’re honest.

I’ve heard people talk about being in love with their characters. I’ve never experienced that. For me it’s more like a crush and crushes pass in time. The trick is not to do something stupid while in the throes of infatuation.

Talli Roland said...

It is SO hard to let it go when you write that final sentence at the end of a long revision process. I've written six novels, none published (yet, anyway - must maintain optimism) and it's hard to shelve the story sometimes when you know it's not working, it's not right for the market or it simply sucks (!). I believe mostly anything can be fixed with a great deal of revision and effort, but sometimes you need to know when to move on.

Rachel Hamm said...

One thing I love about editing and taking scenes out is that I get to know things about my characters that the reader doesn't. I know their pasts and their likes and dislikes and just because I take a scene out that explained my MC's coffee addiction, doesn't mean she isn't still addicted to coffee, you know? I like that I know my characters more intimately than the readers do.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Thanks, guys, for your comments. I have done what Joy said and included some of the information in books that happened in the future but I'm with Tiffany and because my characters and stories are so close to my heart, I miss them when they're done. I guess that's why there are so many remakes of books because obviously others want the story to continue too.

Jim, I love your comment. Perhaps I'm still in love with my book. Perhaps I haven't moved on... in time, perhaps I will.

ann