Monday, July 19, 2010

Make Two into One: Revising to Condense

Despite the pain involved in the process, I've managed to cut some scenes from my novel. Yay! It's making my story stronger. Something else I've noticed is that in some places I can condense scenes by combining two scenes into one. For me, this works when two scenes have some similarity:

 1. Setting. Does your MC need to visit the same location again? Maybe both goals can be accomplished at the same time. I had my MC walking the dog at the same park twice within a couple of chapters. Was the second visit necessary? I managed to combine the scenes to reduce the number of setting changes.

2. Dialogue. Sometimes when I'm preoccupied with solving my MC's problem, she has similar conversations with more than one character. I had to ask myself, is anything new emerging? Sometimes the same information is being rehashed in different conversations. Cut and condense.

3. Events. When notes from my critique buddies say things like, "didn't this already happen?" it forces me to take a second look at the obstacles I'm throwing up for my MC. They may be different, but not different enough to stand out. That's when I start moving around large blocks of text to capture the strongest reaction to the obstacle. It forces me to find another, even tougher way to make things hard for my MC.


  1. Andrea: Looks like we are in the same place. I've also had to cut and combine some scenes.

    I especially agree with what you had to say about setting. I recently combine a scene that was taking place withing a couple of chapters too.

    Continued good work on the revision! :)

  2. Those are great questions to ask yourself, especially having the same conversation twice. I've definitely been guilty of that.

  3. Thanks, Karen. Yeah, Patti, I find it happens to me a lot when I jump in and out of working on my book. I don't always stay consistent.


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