Yesterday, I wrote about the emotional process I go through making edits based on the comments I get from beta readers. As I go through and edit “The King’s Sons,” I’m realizing that my editing will consist of a lot of cuts. And that’s GOOD.
First of all, cutting is easy logistically, even if it isn’t psychologically. (I hope that makes sense. It’s a simple fix to just get rid of a sentence or two or three in the middle of a paragraph that aren’t needed. Takes seconds.) And generally, cutting is good editing. Most editing should consist of cutting. I’m so grateful that my beta readers aren’t afraid to tell me, “This chapter moved too slow.” “There’s too much of this character here.” “Maybe some of this info could be moved elsewhere.”
Because they’re always right. It amazes me, actually, that I don’t see myself, beforehand, how bogged down/drawn out this or that scene is, because after I get feedback saying “This is too slow” I find whole paragraphs sometimes describing emotional reactions that aren’t necessary. Dialogue makes clear what the character is feeling. I don’t need to tell the reader that obvious info. And this is every single time. Over multiple books.
That’s why feedback from other people is so necessary. They see things the author just can’t. They notice things that the author is blind to. And when the author can be humble enough to recognize the value of such constructive comments, there’s SO MUCH potential to improve a novel that’s already “okay” or “pretty good.” Honest, constructive, and respectful feedback is a goldmine. I really try to take advantage of it. I can’t say my pride doesn’t sometimes interfere, but it’s pretty rare that I don’t make at least a minor edit based on a comment a beta reader gives me.