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Work Room - Week 10

The results from last week are in:

and the new topic is up: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/894992.html

There is even a chance for folks to get back into the game: http://therealljidol.livejournal.com/895399.html

and now I talk about the Lion King.

We went to see it last night. It was my Christmas present from Cynthia. They had never seen it before, I had seen it years ago, and had always wanted to take them. So, they decided to take me instead! :)

It was a lot of fun (and they enjoyed it), but one of the surprises was that "Morning Report" was no longer part of the show.

Apparently, it was cut (along with a total of 9 minutes) from the show back in 2010.

Which got me thinking about editing and the importance of being able to take a good, hard look at your own work and figure out how to streamline it.

In the case of "Morning Report", I loved that bit - but I know it didn't really do anything to drive the narrative forward. It was just sort of there as a funny bit. I definitely missed it, but I doubt anyone who has never seen the musical before knew there was anything missing.

What is YOUR editing process, what do you find yourself cutting out from your pieces - and how does that impact you when you are actually writing and notice something that fits the pattern of things that usually end up on your cutting room floor?


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 16th, 2016 03:19 am (UTC)
I am a terrible editor of my own work, tbh. I haven't quite figured out the magical formula that works for me, personally. But that doesn't mean I don't edit. I just... fumble at it. A lot.

Also, really, Gary? Only a day for SCI? Hmmm....
Feb. 16th, 2016 03:52 am (UTC)
I sort of work like sarcasmoqueen described in her entry this week - I write on paper first, then I type it in, then I usually sleep on it and rewrite it "live" before letting it go live. I used to work with an editor and editors make life much, much better.

This week, I went through three different entries. I wrote an entry about Prince and abandoned it, then one about Rapper's Delight, and finally rolled with Liz Phair. I wasn't fully satisfied with any of them because I don't think I really found a prosaic hook, but I was most satisfied with the Phair entry (and thus it survived to be posted).

I've not thought about this weeks entries yet, but I'm thinking of making a switch to non-music entries after week #10, if I survive that long. :D

Edited at 2016-02-16 03:52 am (UTC)
Feb. 16th, 2016 04:29 am (UTC)
Hm. My editing process. It usually involves posting and then re-reading in horror and quickly scrabbling to delete words that are overused, unnecessary, or not quite accurate. (Especially with dialogue.)

Funny that I never seem to be able to recognize these things until I post for the public to see. Having it posted tends to make me read it with new eyes.
Feb. 16th, 2016 04:34 am (UTC)
This is pretty much what I need to do too. I have to re-read out loud in order to truly get annoyed or perturbed by some of the nonsense I initially write. I can catch a good number of errors doing this before public post, but there's--always--something left behind.
Feb. 17th, 2016 06:57 pm (UTC)
Do you let your entry "germinate" on your PC for awhile before posting it?

I.e., completely walk away for hours or more, and then come back with a fresh view?

That usually helps with this kind of thing.

And if not... post it up "private," walk away, come back in a bit and look at it onscreen and fix stuff, THEN make it public and link it.

Sometimes, it's just the way words align in different positions in LJ rather than MS Word, for instance, that helps bring some of that out!
Feb. 16th, 2016 04:33 am (UTC)
So, I have a tendency to write long.

(Cue everyone who knows me going, "Understatement of the century".)

I usually find myself cutting down on bits and pieces of things that just don't fit. I can write something and have all of this amazing backstory about this one character's motivations and what they're doing and why...and that will end up being scrapped, because it doesn't move the story along (at least not for those elements). It can be kind of frustrating, at times (to say the least...), because you write a line you really like or introduce something that you feel fits really well—but it's extraneous detail; you don't need to include it.

Take last week's piece, for instance: the focus of the story wasn't so much, "holy shit the dead are coming back to life!"—that was part of the background. (Whether or not it worked, well...that's a different story.) As I was writing it, I found myself coming up with these elaborate explanations as to why it was happening, asides that were hundreds of words long and talked about why the dead were back, how it had happened.

And...ultimately? That wasn't important. I had a very strong sense of who the narrator for the story was, and what they were doing and what was going on in their life that made the fact that the dead were coming back part of the background. They didn't care about the scientific side of things—that was me-as-a-writer, wanting to neatly explain everything.

When it comes to editing for Idol (I haven't done much of the other kind of editing my own work yet—just editing for other people), that's what I'm looking at—does it move the story along or not? Sometimes if it's a nice detail that builds character, I'll leave it be, but a lot of the time, what you're getting from me, for Idol, is a much shorter version of what was written—because in the longer version, the pacing is wrong, it lags in places and doesn't quite "work", and I've noticed that and tried to fix it.
Feb. 16th, 2016 04:39 am (UTC)
What is the most words you've cut out, by your estimation, in order to attain a final product? (I've watched you move some significant numbers. So many words perished in a fire of editing.)
Feb. 16th, 2016 04:58 am (UTC)
I cut around 2500 from the piece for Week 7. I think that's a personal record.
Feb. 16th, 2016 01:23 pm (UTC)
That is impressive!
Feb. 16th, 2016 04:45 am (UTC)
Unlike in the past, this will be a week-to-week adventure for the next couple of weeks. You won't get "voted out", you can only get "voted in".

Can you elaborate on this? I have a friend who missed the deadline to sign up, and I'd like to talk to her about SCI, but I'd like to understand it first.
Feb. 16th, 2016 05:00 am (UTC)
If it works like it did in Season 9 (which, I'm guessing it will)—you don't get eliminated. Instead, the highest vote-getters will join the main group (and presumably are able to join teams and whatnot). People that aren't the top vote-getters stay in Second Chance and keep competing to get into the main competition.

In Season 9, it went for a few weeks, then there was a final "deathmatch" kind of thing where you were either out or it. If you got enough votes (if you were at or near the top), you were in. If you didn't, you were out.

Edited at 2016-02-16 05:00 am (UTC)
Feb. 16th, 2016 06:48 am (UTC)
I get that part, but the week to week thing, and then only one day's notice, so I'm wondering if people have to be in by tomorrow, or if people will be able to try next week if they're not in this week.
Feb. 16th, 2016 06:49 am (UTC)
That's something that occurred to me after I posted my comment. I know people that would love to join—but I doubt they're going to have time to knock something out tonight.
Feb. 16th, 2016 06:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, or if they'll even hear about it tonight.
Feb. 16th, 2016 11:22 am (UTC)
Everything that was said above, and this. (every week is a new start, so they can come in whenever they want. Of course, the longer they wait the more difficult it will be to get in because of having fewer chances to do it)
Feb. 16th, 2016 09:53 am (UTC)
what was this morning report?
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:24 pm (UTC)
Evidently it's a number in the original Broadway version of "The Lion King". It was omitted in the version Gary saw -- ergo, this discussion about editing.
Feb. 16th, 2016 12:28 pm (UTC)
One of the goals-I-keep-in-the-back-of-my-head is creating tight entries. I was very verbose in earlier seasons, and while there was reason to be so in some entries, it wasn't necessary in most. Ergo, I'm ruthless with myself. I'll write, I'll cut while I'm writing,, I'll rewrite, I'll read everything aloud, cut/reword, read aloud again, the whole shebang. I'll do a final reading aloud before posting. Even then I'm apt to catch a typo or something after I post, so I'll quickly edit it.

It really does pay to have a journalism background. It's been ages since I last did anything specifically newspaper-y, but those lessons tend to stay with you.
Feb. 16th, 2016 07:43 pm (UTC)
I would love for one of the challenges one week to be something like a 300 word limit per entry - or alternately, something like "this entry needs to be 2,000 words." Many of the actual writing assignments I've received over the years have had limits and it makes for a great challenge.
Feb. 17th, 2016 07:02 pm (UTC)
I would love 300 words as a limit! Partly because I'm a microficcer.

But not 2000. That's fairly long for me, and not always something I can hit by the deadline-- not on purpose, anyway. I think my max wordcount was a single entry in S8, at about 1800 words. That's it.

And also... I do not want to read a bunch of 2000-word entries. Not unless we have 10 or fewer contestants. :O
Feb. 16th, 2016 08:42 pm (UTC)
Editing process. It varies. Though a large chunk of it is staring at poetry on the page. Staring. Reading Reading Reading. I record myself so I can hear wear things sound wrong. I try to fix those bits. I have a bulletin board where I tack writing up and stare at it. In passing or longer.

I have cut poems up by line and rearranged them like a puzzle. But I haven't done that lately.
Feb. 16th, 2016 10:31 pm (UTC)
Honestly, it is weird but the pieces of mine that seem to be praised the most are those where I have done no editing at all. I write, I post, that's it.

My process depends on how much time I have really. But generally I take the prompt (or prompts) that interest me most, then I play around with them in my notebook until an idea develops that I think I can work with, then I sit down and type it up. Then I edit as much as time allows.
Feb. 16th, 2016 11:24 pm (UTC)
I am trying to keep my entries around a thousand words. At first I worried that my pieces were too short, but as the weeks went by I discovered that because I'm a slow reader, and I really do enjoy lingering over what I read, I always run out of time, and as it gets closer and closer to the deadline I tend not to read the longer entries. That means that some entries get my vote by default, and I wrestle with that. I try to be fair. So I can't, and wouldn't, tell someone how long their work should be, so I try to keep my own on the shorter side.

At the start of this idol season, I didn't do much editing. I was in a constant panic about the deadline, and finding something to write about within the time given. And, I was expecting the axe to fall on me any second. But in recent weeks editing has become increasingly important to me because I know I need to do my best to stay in the game. One week I asked bleodswean to read my work and give me some feedback. She was fantastic, as always. And now editing is even more important because I can't let my teammates down. So reading, printing, editing, printing, editing, is vital. And of course I always find something I missed, or left out, or need to change after I post it.

Not complaining. I'm really am loving every minute of my idol experience. 😊 (Except when people..."leave." I'm a big baby about that.)

Edited at 2016-02-16 11:28 pm (UTC)
Feb. 17th, 2016 02:51 am (UTC)
I bypass the editing process by just getting it right the first time.
So much easier that way. :-D

For short pieces, I try reading it aloud and figuring out where the linguistic teroir holds up. Especially in pieces that have a particular voice, this is crucial in maintaining narrative integrity. Beyond that, I double-check spelling, replace a few words, fix punctuation, go from there. Usually, my weird html formatting is settled by the first draft ... But if I need to make any mods there, I do that too.

Longer work: usually by writing a novel "bible" as guidance, with my understanding of the characters (history, narrative tics, goals and dreams, etc.). I use post-it notes to sort out plot points (color-coded by POV character). I read, and reread, and tweak, and mod. Sometimes, whole chapters get lopped off. Other times, whole new chapters appear in their place. Oddly, plot points are way easier to change than a character ... So if I decide I need to mod how a character behaves, I end up going back to the start of the book and rewriting every damn line of dialogue until I'm caught up with myself again.

One of these days, I'll put the sort of effort I put into novel editing into an Idol submission. One day ...
Feb. 17th, 2016 03:32 am (UTC)
I think I'm dead.
Feb. 17th, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC)
I knew it was just a matter of time before we got entries from the other side.

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )


LJ Idol
LJ Idol: a writing rollercoaster with iffy brakes


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