Before I update you on my WIP, I need to tell you about my problems with Hotmail. Last week I went through every comment and replied to them as I always do, by sending an email back to the commentor. I thought all was going well until I discovered a lot of them had been sent to the same email address, and not who they were intended for. A few swear words were uttered, I can tell you. So, if you either a) received several emails from me that made no sense or b) didn't receive a reply to your comments, I apologise. I have no idea how many of you did get my emails or what the solution to the problem is. I'll let you know if I manage to resolve it.
Now on to my WIP Update:
The problem with re-reading first drafts, as I have done in the last two weeks, is you find a lot that needs cutting, and down goes the word count. Suddenly your precious 90,000 words become 83,798 words. You also note all the scenes, dialogue, and description you should have written, and theoretcially up goes the word count. You slice, dice, and then cajole a few more words into existence. So maybe we should call editing 'WIP'ing the word count'? What do you think?
Putting humour aside, one of the most important lessons I have learnt whilst editing is that you should trust your instinct when it comes to cutting or re-writing. What was your first reaction to a word, line, paragraph, or scene? If your instinct said it doesn't work then it doesn't. If it said it isn't good enough, it isn't. Always trust your first reaction. You have the answers within you.
Now this might sound contradictory but another important lesson is to keep everything you cut, especially if it's a scene. You may just change your mind. You may want that line or scene for another piece of writing. Or you might not have been paying full attention to your instinct when you cut it and later regret not keeping an earlier version. Keep everything. You'll thank yourself one day.
So, what important lessons have you learnt whilst WIP'ing the word count?