Sunday, May 6, 2012
Liz’s Lair: What Does Editing Have To Do With Garage Sales?
Glad you asked. Somewhere in this post I’ll tell you what I think, but first--to quote my sister--I have to paint the picture.
This weekend my daughter and I participated in a neighborhood garage sale. I haven’t done many of these, but every time I do, I swear I’m gonna kill myself if I even think about doing it again. This time it was a little different. Both my kids have decided that two kids per family are enough, so my attic was full of all kinds of baby stuff. Hubby and I decided that although we love this house, we really need to downsize since it is over 5000 square feet. It was a perfect time to clean out all my closets and the attic.
Fast forward to Friday. I spent most of the day at my daughter’s house pricing things and getting everything organized. I came home and crashed at 9 pm and slept until 5 am when it was time to get dressed and head back to her house to put things out on her driveway. When we got there, she had nine hundred new boxes of clothes, toys and everything under the sun that needed priced and organized.
The community garage sale was scheduled to open at 8 am. They started coming at 6. By 8, we had half our stuff sold. I don’t know what it is about garage salers, but they think you should give stuff away. I asked one guy, “It’s a quarter. How much lower do you want me to go?” Some people just outright made me mad and I refused to bargain.
At the end of the day, we walked away with over a thousand dollars. We hauled the rest of the stuff to Goodwill and headed to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and pigged out. I have to correct myself here. There were about 10 items that I brought back to my house. Things I couldn’t make myself part with.
Which brings me back to editing. I just finished the edits for MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT this week. I normally don’t have many edits—usually just things I need to make clearer. This time I had a character’s motivation that wasn’t too cozy and another with a real but depressing reality situation. At Malice when I partied with my editor, she had me in stitches talking about it. I swear I will always be a rebel. But I knew she was right, so I made a few changes and was done with the edits in a day. She signed off on them immediately.
All this got me thinking about how I get so attached to things, whether it is garage sale items or my written words. Sometimes, I get so caught up in my character’s pain and suffering that I forget that people read books (at least my kind of books) to escape from reality. Nobody wants to get depressed while they’re relaxing with a good book. I still giggle every time I think of my editor repeating my character’s motivations. I had about ten of them for one person—just wanted to get the message across why she hated another character so much!
It’s hard to cut out things that really don’t add anything to my story. Not only didn’t I need all that motivation, but also it bogged down the story. I also have a tendency to show the bawdy since of my humor. I need to remind myself that DELETE is my friend. After the changes, my story is still as strong as before—maybe even better. Like the garage sale stuff, it had to go to unclutter the story and make it desirable.
And speaking of the house, we showed it to a nice couple today and they loved it—even came back later with their kid and are bringing friends by on Friday to see it. And it’s not even on the market yet. Friends saw the sign out front and told them about it.
Even though nothing may come of it, it’s further proof to me that uncluttering your house/manuscript makes it more appealing to your buyers/readers.
So, tell me about your edits. Do you have trouble getting rid of your garage sale words???