Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book Give-Away and Golden Scissor Award

In what state can you eat salt-water taffy on the boardwalk, hike the Kittatinny Mountains, ride the tallest and fastest roller coaster on earth, and catch the calf-roping at the Cowtown Rodeo? New Jersey of course!

Find out more about the state’s hidden treasures in Hidden New Jersey. To earn a chance to win a copy of the book, just stop by my interview with illustrator Hazel Mitchell next Thursday, February 23, and leave a comment.

Announcing the Golden Scissor Award
Do agonize over cutting a single word of your precious manuscript? The Golden Scissor is for you. Award it to yourself when you gamely hold your breath and clip away, leaving masses of excess verbiage in heaps on your virtual office floor.

I’ve decided I deserved the Golden Scissor this week as I attacked an old nonfiction manuscript, hacking away at the dross to reveal the story within. I had been captivated by the subject’s tale of exploration and adventure, but my sails lost wind as my manuscript became submerged in details.

Back then, I felt I had to report on every aspect of the explorer’s three year journey. With experience, I’ve learned how to moor in the exciting moments and sail swiftly past the rest. Halfway through my edit, I’ve trimmed over 20 pages from my manuscript.

How can I bear to do this? I keep a copy of my old version of the manuscript, so nothing’s entirely lost. I can retrieve pages and paragraphs if I need them. But as the essence my story is revealed under my careful cutting, I realize I don’t need them. My manuscript is much better without them.

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