Today, we have a special guest: Angela Morrison.
Her novel, Sing Me To Sleep, was recently published.
I had the opprotunity to read and review this book before it's publication, if you would like to read my review, just click here!
Now, on with the post!
Thanks, Lexi, for hosting my blog tour today. You are my second to the last stop. I've visited 25 blogs--you are the 26th. The YA book blogging community has given SING ME TO SLEEP a fantastic kick-off. It's doing really well. And I've had a great time visiting with followers from all over the world. So much positive energy. Writing takes a lot of alone time. My kids think I'm a total hermit. It's been wonderful to crawl out of my cave and get to chat with readers and bloggers.
Lexi let me choose my topic today. I wanted to leave you with something new. I've been mulling over a post on the art of cutting (your manuscript ONLY, not the other kind) and how it evolves when you work with an editor for my website's liv2writ blog so I thought I'd preview it here.
I learned my first lessons in cutting from the brilliant pen of Ron Koertge, my first MFA advisor at Vermont College of the Fine Arts. He's a poet and YA novelist (see STONER & SPAZ, etc.) His writing is incredibly succinct--vivid, tight scenes you can step into. He taught me about the dribble effect. I had a tendency to ruin the power of a scene or chapter by dribbling PAST the dramatic point where the scene should stop. This is a common problem in first drafts. Easy fix with Ron's pen to X out the dribble. I got better at doing it myself, too. If you cut the boring tying up stuff--leave the reader wanting more--and jump to the next scene at the start of the next chapter, it makes such a difference.
Ron challenged me to cut entire scenes and chapters that weren't working. It's hard to let go of those words you've sweated out of your creative soul and artfully arranged on the page--but it's a critical skill. I resisted, rewrote, and then finally agreed with Ron. Tough to do, but when it came to working with an editor, I was thankful I'd learned those lessons.
By the time I sold TAKEN BY STORM it was seriously over weight--closing in on 90,000 words. My editor, Lexa Hillyer, who recently left Razorbill to start her own literary development company, Paper Lanterns, Inc., wanted me to cut a third of the novel. Yikes. Some of my favorite scenes and chapters got the ax. Lexa encouraged me to save them for the sequel we planned. (See UNBROKEN CONNECTION.) I used some of that material in UNBROKEN CONNECTION, but many of those scenes will only see the light of day if I ever get around to posting them on my blog.
When I wrote SING ME TO SLEEP, I was prepared to get out the hatchet again. This time, though, Lexa needed me to add scenes. She just asked for one big cut--the epilogue.
I wrote the epilogue in response to my daughter's critique of the ending. She thought it was too abrupt--felt readers needed a bit more denouement. Without her choir experiences and friendships, there wouldn't be a SING ME TO SLEEP, so I wrote short epilogue.
Beth's future surprised even me. I was so proud of her and where the journey she takes in SING leads her.
Lexa's publisher (the boss) objected to the switch to an adult tone and voice, so I agreed to cut it.
One of my favorite novels is Katherine Paterson's JACOB HAVE I LOVED. And my favorite part of that novel is the epilogue--where Louise is delivering babies in Appalachia. I suppose I intuitively wanted to give readers a similar look at Beth in the future as an adult. Not just a few weeks or months down the road.
Perhaps I should have fought harder to keep it in. Lexa suggested I post it on my website as a reader extra--which I've done--so AFTER you've read SING ME TO SLEEP, be sure to visit my ChatSpot Blog and read it and the tributes there. But it isn't the same as having the true beauty Beth becomes as the closing scene the reader walks away with.
Hmm . . . maybe if I'm a really good little author they'll put it back in for the paperback.
Thanks again, Lexi for all your support. If your followers have questions, I'd be happy to stop back in and answer them. Oh, and for all of you who loved the trailer soundtrack, "Beth's Song" is NOW ON ITUNES!!!
Thanks for the visit, Angela.
If you have any questions, just leave them in a comment and I will be sure to pass them on!
Sarah J. Maas Galore!
22 hours ago