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Friday, July 24, 2009

Table dusting or why the first ten pages went

I have been doing my editing of my latest. It is due on 31 July. You would think at this stage in my career, I would be instantly alert to table dusting and not even bother to write it. Uh no. It is why the first ten pages of my wip have gone.

Table dusting is a stage term for when two maids stand around explaining the set up. They are generally dusting tables. Not much happens. It kills pace stone dead and the poor reader probably gives up on the book.

I kept trying to fix things but could not work out what was wrong. Then it hit me. My characters were talking to other people and musing on their life. It was not until page 10 that they met and the story really picks up pace. Extreme table dusting. Far easier to cut the table dusting and dribble the necessary info in.

Why oh why I can't I figure these things out early? At least I saw it BEFORE I turned the book in.

7 comments:

Nell Dixon said...

Hugs, been there and done that - sigh. It doesn't get any easier this writing lark.

Donna Alward said...

Sweet pea - that is what editing is FOR. You ALWAYS do your best work after the story is all down. :-)

Michelle Styles said...

Thank you both.

It is good that I spotted it finally. It would have better if I had spotted BEFORE I spent several hours trying to make it better.

Taking the dogs for a walk is a good idea.

And yes, Donna, this is when I do my best work. I have to believe that.

Kate Hardy said...

Guess what? I had to cut the same amount, earlier this week, for the same reason...

Carol Townend said...

Table dusting might just be the writer's way of warming up...it might be necessary to get going. But you are probably right to cut it, once you have got going.

Lacey Devlin said...

I love the term :)

Michelle Styles said...

Carol --
It might be a way of warming up, but I wish I had recognised it for what it was before I spent hour upon hour trying to fix something that was unnecessary.
Lacey -- I read the term Table dusting in McKee and it really stuck. It describes what I was doing -- setting the scene and telling the set up perfectly. Far better to start in the middle of the action.