Yup, it sure is — for me, at least.
Anne’s comment got me thinking and I’d like to pose yet another question: How do you write?
For me, my bard is sentient. Let’s call him Little Tolstoy. I have conversations with Little Tolstoy and we argue regularly. We discuss how we want it to read and we rarely agree. It usually looks something like this.
Me: We need to get more action happening.
LT: No, the journey to the action is just as important and powerful.
Me: Yes, this may be quite true but do you really think we need to devote three pages to something that can be said in one?
LT: Yes, of course. We need to fill the reader with the emotions of the scene, make them feel it themselves.
Me: Yes, but this particular part isn’t all that exciting, she’s just ordering dinner.
LT: I don’t care! The reader should feel her anxiety over her dilemma, relate to it and be just as unsure of what to order!
Me: It’s just dinner and it’s boring.
LT: No, it not just dinner, it’s an exploration of her character. How decisive is she? Does she order what everyone else gets? Does she enjoy food so much that she can’t decide where to start? Or does food just provide sustenance and that’s why she is indecisive? So many things to explore here, really.
Me: You’re crazy. We need to cut it down.
Me: Seriously. You need to learn how to edit.
If I were to let my inner bard loose, I would write tomes that could anchor the QEII. As it is, I have to edit down while I’m writing only to have to edit down more after I’m done. Cut, cut, cut and cut some more. I know some people can start jabbing away at the keys and come up with the perfect novel without hardly any editing and I sometimes envy those people. But then I think about how little I would get to know my characters and my plot. Knowing these things allows me to believe in my world just as much as a reader needs to believe.
So this method may be a bit inefficient but it works for me. I’m on my 5th incarnation of my first chapter (I’m up to chapter 6, though) and I’m still paring it down.
What about you?