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Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Don’t Throw the Words Away!

It is more than difficult at times to strike certain passages, conversations, scenes, AND pages. As I worked with my editor to prepare Echo Ranch for submission, I recall my first ‘head butt’ with her. It occurred when she suggested the opening to the story begin at a specific point (which would require a cut of the first 75 pages of the book). I was horrified. She was (and is) extremely patient and left me to it. After a few days of doing my own trial and errors of taking the pages out (and saving them in another file) and rearranging this paragraph and blending that scene; it occurred to me, she not only knew exactly what she was doing, but her suggestions truly made the story tighter and much more fluid.

My ‘first pass’ edits of Echo Ranch were in excess of 129,000 words. The next round brought the count down to 92,000+. It is currently in pre-release review (with a proposed release date of 1-14-14). I am proud to say the pre-release recipients will receive a beautifully bound book that contains a little over 70,000 words; thanks to the amazing precision and knowledge of my editor’s abilities. Her persistence taught me the importance of not only paring down the delivery; but how to do it without diminishing the story.

…as for those ‘unused’ words?  My editor also taught me to: ‘Never throw the words away!  Save them in a file for another time… it’s not that the writing is poor; it’s that they’re not necessary to complete the scene, conversation, passage, etc. … save them and perhaps you can use them again some day in your next  book…’

D. Lunsford

Does the Name Fit the Character?

Selecting a character name is foundational to enhancing story credibility. For example: If I were writing a Western, I wouldn’t name my trail boss (or any of my cowboys for that matter, ‘Winston’). I don’t recall ever reading a western novel where ‘Trail Boss Winston’ drove his 300 head of cattle across the open range.

Putting aside the mismatched name to the character, an unusual spelling of a character’s name could offer great interest to the story. For example, I came across an unusual spelling of Diane, my name, the other day which inspired me to apply my imagination. I thought about the fun I could have creating a character and scene around the unique spelling.

Given ‘Diane’ was spelled: D-y-e-a-n-n-e, I immediately envisioned a cocktail party scene.

The set up: Dyeanne would be dressed in a trendy little black dress—accessorized, of course, with her signature, 4-carat solitaire gently swaying from side to side as it dangled helplessly from its expensive gold chain around her skinny, bird-like neck. Dyeanne was intent on projecting fabulously beautiful confidence through her body language. Sadly, her stick-perfect, non-existent curvature was a complete contradiction to the flirty way she batted her devious see-through blue eyes.

The delivery: One thing Dyeanne had down to a science, however, was proud and perfect delivery when it came to explaining the spelling of her name: ‘…‘Dyeanne’; spelled with a ‘y’–like dye coloring–the ‘y’ followed by an ‘e’… and then the name ‘Anne’ follows the ‘e’ at the end of ‘Dye’, but there is no capital ‘A’ in ‘anne’

Does Dyeanne’s name fit her character?

-D. Lunsford