Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The trickle effect

On Sunday I went to my critique group and read some fabulous chapters, we had great discussions, but there was an underlying theme to the afternoon.

All of our work had been edited from previous versions and everyone had places where we wanted more explanation or something seemed out of place. Here was what we all said, "I explained that in a previous version or there was more to that section but I cut it out."

Invariably when you delete something, you forget that you mention it again later on, but without the set up that you deleted it doesn't make as much sense. It's like a domino. Once you take one out, the rest of the dominos don't fall at the right time any more.

The only advice I have is to edit, edit, and edit. Then let other people read it. Get another set of eyes to review your work with the sole purpose of finding things that don't make sense or need more explanation.

How about you? How do you avoid the trickle or domino effect?

16 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

That is a tricky situation! I just read it over and over. And rely on fresh beta readers!

Joanne said...

I find it helpful to read it in different formats. Manuscript, on my Nook, out loud. Each format gives a little different type of read and helps find inconsistencies.

Anne Gallagher said...

Beta readers. Definitely. That haven't read any version of the ms. When I read, rewrite, edit, it becomes infused in my brain and I can't see the problem. It needs to be pointed out to me by someone else.

Melissa Marsh said...

My two critique partners are excellent about finding things like that. And you're right - edit, edit, edit!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

It's hard to avoid this situation, isn't it? But your advice is perfect--lots of revising and help from our critique friends.

Carolyn V said...

I agree, betas. They help so much. But editing can be scary. I always worry if it will make sense afterwards.

Southpaw said...

A month away from it and a second set of eyes.

Jessie Oliveros said...

That's a really good point. I think I've noticed that effect in published books before..."where did THAT come from?" Obviously just not edited enough:)

Jessica Nelson said...

Exactly what you said. Edit, edit, edit.
And then hope a critter catches it! LOL

Lynda R Young said...

Yes! I've experienced that. I write outlines now so that I can chop and change without losing too much and everything is still small enough that I can keep a handle on all the threads. Once the basic structure of the outline is set, then I start working on the first draft.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This is where fresh eyes definitely help. In our minds the important information is still there when in truth we've actually deleted it.

Tracy said...

That's always one of the toughest parts for sure. I'm pretty anal about knowing when I make references to certain things in my manuscript, so if I remove something I'm usually able to go back and catch the references.

But I'm also lucky to have a good little group of betas who aren't shy about saying "Yo, chicky, I think you forgot something here"

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Fresh eyes is key for me. Once a reader knows the whole story, it's too hard to catch the missing info in a reread.

Candice said...

Thank goodness for beta readers to catch those misses. I always try to save some readers for after major edits.

Martin Willoughby said...

Edit, read it...and keep copies of previous versions.

Misha Gericke said...

I don't think it can be avoided. All that one can do is keep going through the whole thing again and again until everything works like it's supposed to.