Weeding my manuscript

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To stick with the recent Editing theme, I was weeding today. I know that the writer in you can immediately see the connection. Weeding = Editing in that you are trying to get out the bad stuff. But while I was weeding I thought of it in another way. Cause I don’t really see weeds as such a bad thing. They aren’t inherently bad (in fact, some of them are yummy – ever had dandelion greens?). But they are not supposed to be there, and there is nothing that gives me more pleasure than pulling a weed out by the roots.

Which got me to thinking about my WIP, and these little weeds that my Critters have found in it. I didn’t see them as weeds until they were pointed out as such – just like dandelions are flowers until you are told they are evil weedy flowers that need to be eaten in a yummy mixture of braised greens and your favorite type of bean (Garbanzos or Cannellini if you are me). And if all you do is rip off the leaves they will come back right away. Ripping off the surface problem doesn’t get rid of the weed. So I had to dig deeper.

I found those little white roots that travel just under the surface of the soil and connect a bunch of different weeds. And I started pulling. And I ripped out bunches and bunches of weeds, and I followed them from the front to the back yard, and ripped them out until they reached the neighbor’s fence. And while the neighbor’s fence has nothing to do with writing, the roots do. Because the problems with my novel are not surface-deep either. They are inter-connected roots that run through the whole story and screw everything up. Once I’ve found one and started pulling on it, and if I’m gentle enough (edits require a gentle touch, I have learned, not a heavy-handed one) the whole thing will come right up without breaking. And yes, the ground around it will be a little messy. And it might have gone right through a bunch of flowers that I want to keep. It’s going to take some work to get everything back in place.

But it will be worth it. So worth it. Because the root of the story will be stronger without all these little weedy-roots getting in the way and distracting everyone with their deliciousness (and some of these storylines were delicious!). Maybe some of those flowers that we had to pull out won’t be going back into the ground, but we can plant new ones. And, hey, do you see that? Buried under all those giant weeds is a tiny crocus popping up out of nowhere. Much prettier than a dandelion. Let’s clear away some of this debris and give it some water and watch it grow into a beautiful, deep-rooted storyline of its own.

And now that we are done cleaning the yard it’s time to get back to revising the WIP. I’ve pulled out quite a few weeds and now its time to plant some new flowers and get that crocus growing the way it should be. Because I’ve got one week to edit thirteen chapters, and that’s going to take some major re-planting.

And just because I’m excited to start planting real flowers outside: what is your favorite flower? Mine is wisteria, but I wouldn’t threaten the livelihood of my trees with that beautiful weed.

Full Fathom Five: Wisteria

Published by

Rebecca Enzor

Rebecca Enzor is a chemist in Charleston, SC who writes Young Adult and New Adult Fantasy and Magical Realism. Repped by Eric Smith of P.S. Literary. Her debut novel, SPEAK THE OCEAN, comes out with Reuts Pub in Fall 2018!

41 thoughts on “Weeding my manuscript”

    1. I posted about where to find Critters over on the Asiagoan’s blog last week: http://asiagoans.com/?p=755 (it’s at the very bottom of the post). And someone on my last post here mentioned Forward Writing as a good place to look also 🙂

      And if you want to wait until this round of edits are over for me I could always use another Critter! 😉

  1. I’m going through the same thing now with my blog. It’s exciting getting rid of all the extraneous stuff or the things that dont make any sense or don’t sound as fantabulous as they should. Editing is a lengthy process, but it certainly is a rewarding one.
    Good luck in your editing. Glad to see it’s going so well.

    ❤ Gina Blechman (fellow crusader)

    P.S. Loved the metaphors. 🙂

    1. I have to admit – much as I hate editing it is becoming very rewarding (which means I don’t hate it as much as I used to :P). I can’t wait to see the finished product once all the weeds are out 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by 😀

  2. Hiya fellow new adult crusader!

    I really enjoyed this post – a very apt comparison between editing and weeding. I’m still planting my seeds, but hopefully in a few months I’ll begin tidying up my garden. Hopefully, with the help of critiquers, I’ll be able to tell the gerbras from the dandelions!

    Looking forward to getting to know you better throughout the crusade!

    1. That’s the other tough part – telling the flowers from the weeds! Especially this early on, when I’m just excited to have anything growing out of the flower beds at all 🙂 Someday I hope to be so good at planting that I won’t need to weed this much (or rip out the garden and start again, which is actually what I’ve done – twice!)

      Thank you for stopping by to say hello 🙂

  3. Great post. Sometimes I have flowers that have just slipped into the wrong flower bed if you know what I mean?

    Anyway, I’m coming over for the Crusade. I’m slow, but I’m here. I write sci fi/fantasy. Mostly adult, but I do have one New adult wip in the works. Nice to meet you!

    1. I’ve found that this time around too – I planted a few flowers too early. They’re going to be beautiful, but they need to be planted in a different bed 🙂 (and of course now I have to muss up that bed to get the flowers in and the weeds out!)

      Nice to meet you too, Charity! 🙂

  4. Wisteria! It blooms twice a year nearly every year in my area. I’m always wacking at my weedy words–very, just, like, so. You guess it, I’ve got it. I’m following you now. ; )

  5. Great analogy.

    I guess you could say that while the main root it the stronger, important one, some of the side roots supply nutrients to the plant from different areas, as in sub plots vs main plot of a story. :O)

  6. I don’t do much gardening but I know the satisfaction referred to. Doing a bit of that myself, at the moment. It’s good stuff, to say the least, and I’m ever so pleased with the results.

  7. Oooh – I love your analogy to de-weeding. I am currently ripping them out by the roots in my ms.

    Oh – and no fav flower. No green thumb here. Sadly, I look at flowers and they die.

    Fellow crusader – nice to meet you!

  8. I like the term “weeding”. I’m going to use tht from know on. It provides less shuddering than the term editing *shudders*.

    Editing is when our stories start to shine. It’s not fun, but oh so very necessary.

    I just have to write the last chapter to my WIP and then I will on to the “weeding” process.

    Fellow crusader and new follower here.

  9. Weeding the story is truly a scary big job, and very messy. I am glad I read this because it makes me feel a lot better about the mess that my current WIP is in.

    I think you are right. If you can go through the process and get all the weeds out, the story will be so much stronger.

    1. Oh yeah, no worries about a messy WIP. If your garden is perfect from the get-go then you are obviously an alien or something!

      *rips the last of the weeds out*

      This garden is going to look so awesome once the flowers bloom 🙂

    1. You gotta keep an eye on that garden, or they’ll spring up! I spent all weekend pulling crab grass out of the lawn (it looks like grass, but is not). Now it’s time to re-arrange my Fie Eoin garden again >.< More weeds. Sneaky little buggers.

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