This is a follow-up to the ‘Flensing the Manuscript’ blog post. Just so you know, this article is about adding content to a manuscript, and not just adding to the word count.
Let’s say you’ve just finished your first draft. You have your story down! Congratulations are in order, because many people never get to this point. You can enjoy the glow of a true accomplishment.
BUT! (And this is a big but.) Your journey is only half over. Now you have to edit your masterpiece.
Editing isn’t all about taking the ‘bad’ writing out (also known as ‘killing your darlings’), it is also about fleshing out those parts of the manuscript that might be a bit sketchy. Don’t deny it … everyone has a writing black spot. Mine is setting; these days I try to think of the setting as another character with a ‘dialogue’ and with interaction with the other characters on stage. Your weakness might be dialogue, or character description, or some such. This is the chance to work on that weakness.
This isn’t the moment to feel discouraged; you should be excited! You can add depth and beauty to your story. You are adding interest and content to delight the reader. And now a word of warning about waffling…
Every word you add to your manuscript should help push the story along. Waffling is when you throw in words without any regards to the impact they have on the whole story. And don’t try to use the old ‘ the sunset was a metaphor’ excuse; your readers will pick up on that in a hot second. Waffling creates vagueness, and reveals a lack of interest on the behalf of the author of the work. An example of waffling is giving a three page description of a scene that actually has very little to do with the actual story, or putting in dialogue of the “what do you want to do?”