Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CHOP CHOP: Revising Pains

Sometimes I really like revising and editing. It's like taking flour and turning it into a batch of cookies. If you bake the cookies right, people will want more. Then you start the process over again.

Maybe that metaphor works, or maybe I'm just hungry.

But know what's the hardest part? Cutting.

Cutting your favorite scenic descriptions. Cutting backstory. Cutting... scenes. Scenes that really show the personality of minor characters. But there's the problem: they're minor. They're minor for a reason, and you need to keep 'em minor.

I've written a musical that will be performed in March, and I'm still revising the script. Yeah, it wasn't perfect, but it wasn't awful when it was 130 pages. But the estimated length of a 130-page-musical script is 3 hours and 15 minutes. Even I, who love musical theatre, hate sitting still that long.

So I've been cutting. And cutting and cutting and cutting. It's still 112 pages. I've almost cut as much as I can without cutting a song, which I really don't want to do (scenes are one thing, but I get really attached to songs- fitting, as they're emotional by definition). When it gets down to it, you either have to make the song really relevant or cut it out. And I've given a lot of songs to minor characters.

Musicals, I've discovered, are quite different than novels. People watching musicals are less forgiving about "painting the scene." They want you to get on with the plot. I'm included in that "they."

*Pulls out scissors* Ugh. Here we go. Sorry, minor characters. We'll just assume you can figure junk out for yourself and don't need a few pages of resolution. This... will take some fancy footwork... O_o

Got revision blues? Let me know- I'd love to hear about your best revising tips and tricks!



  1. As a playwright, I know how you feel. Scripts are harder to edit than novels in my opinion!

  2. You write plays, too? Awesome! Yeah, I've come to the same conclusion, hahah...