Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Still Living In Edit Land

I’m so close to the end and yet, further away than ever before. Of course, I’m talking about my current novel. My word count has been bouncing between 66,700 and 68,000 for the past several weeks, but I’m not too concerned about it. The first draft came like a flash last June, but since then, it’s seen a number of major edits. Not just a few scenes cut here and there, I’m talking about replacing entire chapters, switching scenes, adding characters, and reversing the roles of a few others.

Each time I make a change, though, it reminds me of a skit I watched years ago on the old Carol Burnett Show. Harvey Korman played the role of a character in a book while Carol, the author, narrated it off stage as she typed the scene. It went something like this (paraphrasing here, of course):

Howard entered the room, slammed the door and threw himself on the couch.
Korman (the actor) then walked into the room, slammed the door and threw himself on couch, except that on his way down, the author changed her mind and said, “No, no. That’s not right.”

We could then here the classic sound of an old manual typewriter coming from somewhere off stage and she would begin to narrate her corrected scene.

Howard strolled into the room, threw his coat on the couch and rushed to open the window.
After several of these types of edits, “Howard” started to get frustrated as the changes came more rapidly and in the middle of his action. Often he wouldn't have time to move from one position to another. The whole thing was absolutely hilarious.

Anyway, that skit always comes to mind when I work on my edits. I wonder what my characters thought last week when after getting through the edits on chapter 36, I decided to change the killer. Yes, it was a drastic move, and yes, it did require going back to the beginning and checking each chapter for consistencies, but it’s the best change I’ve made so far. As for my characters, Rhonie Lude and her pals will just have to live with it.

I was hoping to find a clip of that Carol Burnett skit on YouTube, (search on her name and you'll find several) but I couldn’t. Instead, I’ll share this link that I received in an e-mail this week. Stay with it unit the end. It’s really neat.


Hart Johnson said...

I LOVE the mental image that calls to mind. I watched enough of those Carol Burnett skits to picture it very clearly, and thinking of your own characters doing that is a brilliant step back to consider which changes are actually necessary and which are whim. In my head, I even have them rolling their eyes if the first draft is ridiculous!

Marta Stephens said...

Ha! Sam Harper, my character from my other series used to yell at me all the time. LOL ;)

s.w. vaughn said...

What an awesome image - I LOVE the Carol Burnett Show! Now I'm going to have to make it my mission to find that skit (it's one I haven't seen) ... LOL!

Good luck with your edits!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Marta, I used to LOVE the Carol Burnett Show, and I do remember that skit!!! I miss that uproarious comedy - wholesome, yet hilarious. They were an amazing crew. And hang in there - I know how your hard work paid off with your first two books, and I'm sure this one will be fabulous because of your attention to detail and in depth analysis. ;o)

Jackie Fullerton said...

Love the comparison. That's the fun of writing. You can create a scene and then recreate it over and over.