Saturday, April 9, 2011

Manuscript Dieting

Lynn and Evans differ on weight management. Lynn is a dieter and Evans believes exercise is a cure-all. This philosophical difference spills over into our collaboration and makes it stronger. What’s that old saying; “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Well, it’s like that.

Evans isn’t afraid to let his love of a story idea race on and on. The first draft of our novels will ramble down tributaries and climb hills well away from the story’s main course. Evans thinks these side journeys are delightful. Lynn thinks they are a distraction. With the ruthlessness which would make Freddy Kruger proud, Lynn will take the electronic chainsaw to early drafts, cutting away themes and narratives not core to the central idea. Evans has learned that neither shouting nor moping has much effect when Lynn is trying to trim down our work.

A good example of this interplay can be found in one chapter of our manuscript, Promise. The protagonist in that story is an exceptional young lady who quits basketball to train for a triathlon. Sport is just part of the background in a coming of age novel centered on building and destroying relationships. In the chapter devoted to the heroine’s first race, Evans paid loving tribute to the sport he loves by describing intimate details that make triathlons such a wonderful challenge. Lynn cut everything that wasn’t essential to the protagonist’s feelings as she prepares and then competes in her first race. Although he lost some enamel from grinding his teeth, Evans has had to admit the chapter is better after Lynn’s efforts to limit the descriptive calories in order to concentrate on lean emotion. You can see for yourself. We’ve attached the before and after chapters below.

WARNING: The F-Bomb is dropped by the protagonist’s best friend in order to help her relax before she competes.
Evans' Chapter   Lynn's Chapter

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