DIE! DIE! DIE! Said the man turned into a donkey.

In fifth grade, my daughter participated in a Shakespeare play. A Midsummer’s Night Dream. She played the role of Puck (or duck or Chuck, something like that). So instead of getting to wear the cool costumes for a girl, she was a man and a donkey. Not very glorious. Not every girl’s dream.

But it turned out to be a terrific role, the humorous role, the fun role.

She spoke loud and clear and the audience could actually here her. (Sometimes kids mumble on stage. Okay, most kids mumble on stage.) Younger kids wanted her autograph later. She was a star.

It’s now a couple years later and we both agreed that no one will ever forget the famous scene. The one where she stabs herself over and over again, yelling out, “Die, die, die!” She acted dead for a few seconds. Then burst out with one more. “Die!”

And yep, that’s what I’m doing right now with my manuscript. Not to all of it. But to the parts that recently showed themselves as fools gold, gimmicks, and trickery.

Scenes I thought were crucial – gone.

Scenes I loved – deleted.

Scenes I told myself would never go – collecting dust in a cyber folder.

In so many ways my manuscript is changing, scenes rearranged and rewritten and restructured.

Yet, the core of my story is still the same.

And this manuscript was done! (Or so I thought.)

But I received some terrific feedback. And I thought about the reader. What will the reader want? What will keep him/her turning the pages? I stopped thinking about myself.

And I pulled out the largest pair of scissors I have and practiced my evilest cackle in the small mirror in our tiny downstairs bathroom.

Mwa ha ha ha!

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27 Responses to DIE! DIE! DIE! Said the man turned into a donkey.

  1. Mark October 28, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Aloha Laura,

    I’m literally working on edits for my Chapter Six and wanted to take a break, so I checked my blog…

    I’m new to following you and when I saw the title DIE! DIE! DIE! I cracked up, and had to come over to see what was THAT all about!

    (I’m just glad me ma wasn’t scanning my blog… she’d be like “oh my, son… who are you hanging out with, these days!”)

    Mahalo for the smiles at 12:29 a.m. HI time!

  2. Carole October 28, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    As wonderfully entertaining as your daughter must have been! :0)

  3. christine danek October 28, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Ha. Good luck. I’m cutting and rearranging. Trying to see my manuscript from another part of me.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. Stina Lindenblatt October 28, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    I’m doing the same, but now I’m focusing on the paragraph, sentence, word level (I’ve already gone through it at the scene/chapter level).

    It’s amazing how many unnecesary ‘thats’ still remained after my last expedition to eradicate them. Seriously, do they reproduce once my computer is turned off for the night??????

    Can’t wait to read the book again, Laura. 😀

  5. Sheri Larsen October 28, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Good for you, Laura, for being able to see what your story needs through all the trees of our writing trickery. It takes a big writer to part with certain aspects of their story.

    Nicely done!

  6. Gail Shepherd October 28, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    So funny. I can just see her on the floor emitting that final “die!” for good measure. I have an ms that’s going to get the same treatment, now that I’ve put it away for a few months and I have a new beta reader.

    • Laura October 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

      Thanks everyone! I can’t say it has been easy. But I’ve really been able to look at it as a story and not as my words that can’t be changed. Anything is possible, right?

  7. Jennifer Shirk October 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    Ha! I bet your daughter was awesome!

    I’ve been “killing” a lot of introspection scenes. Apparently my characters like to think to themselves a lot. LOL

  8. anne gallagher October 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    I love Puck!

    As for the “cutting edge”…I’m so manic when it comes to that. I hate to let them go, but I fully realize I have to move the story forward, not stagnate. Best of luck to you.

  9. Ava Jae October 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Best of luck to your editing and rewrites! I know exactly what you mean about cutting those things from your WIP you never thought would go…it’s difficult, but you almost always benefit from it. (And if you don’t…that’s why you keep copies!)

  10. Andrea October 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    Laura, kudos to you for being able to see your writing a different way (and laugh at what I’m sure is a painful process).

  11. Traci Kenworth October 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    This is exactly what I’m going through right now. Cut. Snip. Snip. Chop. All for the purpose of making the manuscript tighter, more complete, and ready for an agent. Good luck with your editing!!

  12. shelley moore thomas October 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    Isn’t it strange how you can KNOW something is done, but yet still find things to do with it to make it better? That’s the great thing about another set of eyes.

    Good luck (insert evil cackle.)


  13. Susan Kaye Quinn October 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

    Ha! I love the comic timing!

    And yes, when you start thinking about readers (actual readers, not agents/editors/crit partners) then somehow that changes things. Brings it into sharp relief. Good for you!!

  14. richard p hughes October 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    You can almost never go wrong cutting stuff out. As hard as it is to do, if you don’t do it yourself, someone else (editor) will.

  15. richard p hughes October 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    (con’t) especially after you’ve finished the later drafts. That’s usually when your sharpest sizzors need to be used. But, at some point, you have to call it finished and move on.

  16. Patti October 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    Lately the delete button has become my best writing tool.

  17. Eileen Astels October 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Editing and revising isn’t easy, but I’m always amazed how it changes when I stop looking at through my eyes and start seeing it through someone else’s. Yup, cutting is necessary and new scenes are too!

  18. Leigh Moore October 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    LOL! What a great way to approach the editing process. It’s true you’re making it stronger, leaner, and tougher. Kill those darlings. 😀 Die! <3

  19. Lisa Green October 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    LOL! Love it. I remember my cousin played Puck and I was mesmerized. I still remember it and I was like 6.

  20. Karen Strong October 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    LOL. And you’re being so calm about it. I have to get through all the stages of grief first before I can cut a scene. It’s a shame. 🙂

    • Laura October 29, 2011 at 12:03 am #

      I usually have a hard time cutting and changing that much but for some reason i was willing to completely look at my story objectively and which sections were weak or could be stronger. This happens once in a blue moon, so I’m going with it!

  21. Donna K. Weaver October 29, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Oh, you’ve just described what I’ve been going through!


    Nice to have a word to put to it. lol

  22. Sarah Pearson October 29, 2011 at 4:23 am #

    Good for you, and doing it with an evil cackle is so much the better 🙂

  23. shelli October 30, 2011 at 3:28 am #

    sometimes killing your manuscript makes it come alive again – kinda like a zombie manuscript. wait that doesn’t sound good – does it? 🙂

  24. Riv Re October 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    *waves* Hi Laura,
    I just discovered your blog through Shelli’s (Market My Words) and it’s hysterical. I totally feel for you when it comes to killing off the best parts. I haven’t started any revisions yet on my MS, still being in the drafting stage, but I keep a document of stuff I know will need to be deleted later. Needless to say, it’s depressing. XD

    Good luck with killing your donkeys. Or whatever it is. >< Can't wait to read more from you!
    ~Riv Re

  25. Leslie Rose October 31, 2011 at 3:50 am #

    You’ve just given me an idea for a spooky Halloween costume: Manuscript slasher.

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