Saturday, February 25, 2017

Clipping Document

This is me carefully editing my manuscript
For those of you waiting for the next Caitlyn Jamison Mystery to be published, the good news is I am more than halfway through the second draft. The not so good news is that there is still much work to be done!

Editing a manuscript is a difficult, time consuming, and tedious job. Did I mention it is a necessary one? Reading a manuscript in a slow and careful manner allows the author to get into the flow of the book, the characters, and the plot lines. The author will find which characters need to be developed more, and what plot lines need further development. I also find many words and sentences that are not pulling their weight – I make my words work and those that don’t – Gone!

As I make my way through the second edit, I realized that the initial character for the genealogy subplot was not developed so that the reader could connect with her, and maybe even sympathize with her plight.

Actually she was. Early on in the book’s development I had written a chapter describing Edda van der Molen, putting her in time and place. But as the book’s other characters and plot lines were developed I felt the chapter featuring Edda was not what I wanted.

But it was a chapter and I hated the thought of deleting all that writing. I decided to put this chapter into a “clipping document.” The document would serve as a holding place for sentences, paragraphs, even chapters that for one reason or another didn’t work anymore. Why waste them? As I worked my way through the book, I have dipped into my clipping document and pulled out words and sentences that I tweaked enough to fit perfectly into the story line.

As for Edda, I had clipped her chapter into a separate document (thank goodness; easy to find), and labeled it “Edda.” When I realized I needed to flesh out Edda more, I copied and pasted the clipping into the manuscript and edited it down to give the details I needed.

Consequently, my advice to writers: When your creative writing doesn’t work, don’t throw it out – save it in a “Clipping Document,” (properly labeled). You never know when that piece of writing just might be the ticket for soup!


  1. Great advice. And it works for nonfiction writers too! I keep an "outtake" file for each book, where I put pieces I cut that I might want to add later or use in another context.

    Can't wait to read about Caitlyn's next adventure.

  2. Very good advice for any sort of writing. You never know when you might need that creative piece elsewhere.