Thursday, March 04, 2010

When and Where to Prune

Wednesday evening I was watching a show called Chicago Tonight on WTTW in Chicago. Phil Ponce interviewed an expert from the Chicago Botanical Garden.

One of the topics was it's not too early to prune. Right now, you can look for spots dead or damaged from winter and cut them off.

That said, she also mentioned you need to know your plants and bushes. With some of them, it's better to wait until they've fully flowered before pruning them, or else you may cut off where the flowers were going to bloom.

Of course, the topic reminded me of editing. I have the terrible habit of editing too closely when I'm writing my manuscript. I should be eliminating the obvious mistakes, then going on to the finish line. Then I can go back and remove or rearrange what doesn't work. When it's all done and I believe I've done my best, I'll hand it over to a professional editor, like Helen Ginger, who did a great job editing my romantic suspense, Killer Career

Anyway, for now, I'll keep reminding myself to forge ahead. Let's see if it works.

What about you? Do you know when and where to prune?


  1. It's something I've learned better the more I write. And I used to wait until the end until the editing, but now I chop sooner.

    Great analogy!

  2. I try to make myself wait until the first draft is complete before doing serious editing. However, there are days when my muse is on strike and the ideas don’t flow so I’ll go back and work on a chapter I’ve already written rather than attempting a new one.

  3. I've started making myself go back and do a grammar/stupid mistake edit. Before I would just wait until I finished to look bad at all.

    Not a great idea. The silly mistakes that take 5 seconds to fix drive me crazy.

    I do still wait to do any major edits/revisions until it's done. I might make some notes, but no touchie.

  4. I usually find I have a lot to prune. I typically go through 7-9 working manuscripts of the same book. With Guardian, I started out with 55K words and eventually it was down about 20K from that.

  5. It's very tempting to prune while you're writing. I also try to just edit the obvious mistakes and only read as far back as the previous day's writing so that I don't go too nuts.

    Blood-Red Pencil


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