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Jacqui Jacoby on Killing Your Darlings & #Giveaways

We have author Jacqui Jacoby this week talking about cutting words out of your work. Her latest release Dead Men Play The Game! There will be giveaway of Amazon GC and a Kindle copy of Dead Men Play The Game to one commenter!
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                           Directors Cut

The director’s cut, a movie released several years after the original, giving us a look into scenes and story we missed when the film was in the theaters.  Aliens, released in 1986, the director’s cut coming out in 2003 with roughly eighteen minutes of a movie that really should have been in the first.  Boondock Saints II, All Saints Day, twenty-two minutes that made it practically a different film.
These directors knew what they were doing. They knew what cut to make it still work and then they knew what to add back to make it rock.
 
You are the director of your books, only instead of adding scenes in, your work is to sit down with a novel you finished a month ago or so, and start reading and finding those places where it can be polished and cut.
 
With DEAD MEN PLAY THE GAME out, it’s easy for me to look at this book, longer than anticipated, and remember that on my computer there is a file holding an additional 52,826 words I pulled.  Think about that. If I had left them in, my UPS man would be collecting workman’s comp for lifting that box of books.
 
But it’s not easy.  All those words?  They matter.
 
In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”
 
Good advice, though I found the quote in three different places attributed to Stephen King, Allen Ginsberg and William Faulkner. 
 
Whoever said, it is true.  There will be that one scene, one you love so much and you knew when you wrote it made the book.  Only when you go back with that purple highlighter in your hand, you read it a few times and realize maybe it doesn’t further the plot as far as it should.
 
And that is the rule I use.
 
Does it further the story?  Is this character really pulling their weight? Does this…location, song reference, movie reference, piece of dialogue…need to be here?
 
Editing is a skill as learned as writing. 
 
Because you know what? You might like the writing, but if you don’t do the editing to epic proportions, only your mom will read the book. Editing is a required part of the job. I just got off three months on two different books and for me writing is creative, editing is agonizing work for me.  My mind always feels as if its swelling beyond the skull size until everything is fuzzy.  But then, I am notorious for ten hour days with no breaks –which is dumb.
 
You? Take breaks.  Maybe use a 45 min on/15 min break schedule (use a timer). 
 
Eat right and don’t skip.  You can’t see you used ‘than’ instead of ‘then’ if your blood sugar just bottom lined.
 
Talk to people once in awhile. Hear a voice to remind you what they sound like.
 
Sleep eight minimum.  Go easy on caffeine. It may keep you going.  It might not get you to the end.
When I began teaching LESSONS OF FIREFLY, I learned something.  Film is a different medium than books.  And where a director has that option to go back in and rerelease, not a lot of us do.  We have to be careful with every single word we put into our final version and we have to make sure the shine.
 
End Scene.

Dead Men Play The Game
For a hundred years, Ian Stuart has fought the monster controlling his life. Living as a human among humans, he wants to fill the void that has followed him from one empty, lonely relationship to another other.

Ashley Barrow is working the worst murder case in Davenport, Oregon's history. She needs a drink to forget the detailed images in mind. When she walks into Ian's pub, Ian knows their lives are about to change, if only for a short while. Vampire and human, their relationships can only last so long. But an enemy from Ian's past has his own agenda about their future.

 His sadistic revenge changes Ashley forever, leaving Ian and his long time friends – Travis, Jason, Quinn and Evan -- desperate to ease her into her new life and find a way to defeat their enemy.
 Buy:

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22 comments:

  1. Yes! This! I know all about killing/slashing and mutilating my darlings! Thanks for a great post!

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  2. I had it happen to me so I know its hard to slash written words.

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    1. I had to take a 800 word scene out that I LOVED. Kills ya.

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  3. Great tips and advice, thanks Jacqui! Nas, thanks again for hosting.

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    1. I hope they help. KIcking butt feels good.

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  4. Oh my gosh, you cut over 52K and work 10 hrs straight? I'm in awe.

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    1. Empty nester. Thought it would be tragic ... watch my dust!!

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  5. Excellent advice! Editing is still very, very hard for me - but I'm learning! :)

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    1. Every step is always learning. Keep at it.

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  6. I'm glad you've mastered the art of "kill my darlings" so well that you trimmed 52k out of your book. And I love the cover - so spooky! I don't have a "kill my darlings" problem as I write sparsely and always end up adding more to clarify and expend where my CPs tell me I need more.

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    1. It's actually fun to read what was cut cuz it was never edited or polished and man it sucks!! LOL And thanks on the cover. I have a fantastic graphic artist who can see my vision. All the Dead Men books will have a cemetery quality. to them.

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  7. I like the blurb and the premise of this story and looking forward to reading the whole series.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. It's a totally different way to view these blood sucking creatures of the night ... none of which ... my guys are.

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  8. It's hard to trim all the unnecessary words. But it must be done!

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    1. How many did I say that other was? 52,000? I leave those in and that's not a book it's an end table.

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  9. I'm a leaner writer, so I usually have to add words. But I always find more than a few to cut when we get closer to the final draft. A director's cut of a book... it might be interesting with a few of them. :)

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    1. I had to go those book at one point and take one word out a time for the whole book: a 'that', a 'very', did this three word sentence have to stay? I got almost 2500 out that way and insane when I was done. ^,,^

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  10. I used to overwrite, but now I find I underwrite (and I still do end up deleting, adding, and shifting). I like how we're compared to directors. :)

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  11. I tend to underwrite, oddly. I think I'm one of the few people who do that!

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  12. I only write a blog at the moment so I'm unsure of the editing process... I think I'd have to hire someone to edit for me xox

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  13. Wonderful advice! So important to be able to edit and take out what isn't needed. Not easy to do for sure! It is hard to part with sentences or chapters we like, but sometimes they have to go. I like the list of things to do to stay alert and keep the writing flowing. :)
    ~Jess

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