Spare Us The Cutter!*

Just like Megan Fox, I am a cutter. Great initials, by the way, Megan.

[sidebar: I didn’t think anyone could possibly be as beautiful as Angelina Jolie, but Megan Fox is so stunning that it is almost hard to look at her. Yes, she is outrageous and dumb and outrageously dumb in interviews, but she must have had a seriously different life than any of us have had, since she’s been that gorgeous her whole life, and people treat you differently. Plus, she’s an actor; who cares what she says in interviews?]

But unlike Megan, I am proud of cutting. (My friend Kwana calls me The Queen of Cut). Earlier this week, my agent emailed to suggest revising my manuscript currently making the editorial rounds. I’d already returned from National with all kinds of ways to improve it, and much of the feedback from editors has been similar, so it makes sense to act on it, and improve the manuscript. Even if it ends up not selling, it will be useful to have undergone the editing exercise. Now that school is back in session, and life is almost back to normal, I have time to actually act.

So I’m yanking out at least two plot threads in the manuscript, which means I’ve got pages and pages with slashing red lines drawn through them. It feels good, to weed out what I knew, in my writer heart of hearts, was wrong.

What’s left? A love story. A love story between two people, one of whom is seriously damaged, and one of whom thinks she is unworthy. It will remain to be seen if I can cobble together a compelling book, but meanwhile, I have my little red pen in my hand and I’m going to town.

I don’t know if I have anything else to add today, since my head is all kinds of engrossed with this, plus the normal detritus that clogs my brain. Next week I’ll be pulling out most, if not all, of the stops with an Anniversary Post. How about commenting on anything you want, if you are so inclined?


*An Echo And The Bunnymen song. You’re welcome.

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13 years ago

I’m saying Happy Friday Queen of the Cut! Cut Master Ace! Cut Creator! Ok, I’m done.

Jane Austen
13 years ago

When I was a senior in college I started working on a play. It’s about a bus ride between David Letterman, Franz Kafka, Andy Warhol, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Christ and Satan. I was really close to the project then and couldn’t cut what needed to be cut or change lines and such. Now I think I might be able to finish it and who knows where it could go. Two sections I wrote that people might find interesting:

Karl: (Franz Kafka) I’m the Casanova of existentialism.

Galen: (Andy Warhol):Darling, don’t you know anything? Everybody hires someone to plan a party. I mean honestly I think Jesus will hire someone to plan his second coming. Can’t you just see it? ‘I’m thinking of having Satan on a spit roasting in the middle of a big field…. Do you think putting an apple in his mouth is a little over the top?’

I have no idea what I’ll do with the play when I’m done, but just in case I do have my Tony award speech ready to go…..

Jane George
13 years ago

Today I’m working on changing the first seven chapters of a WIP that I wrote in first person present tense to third person past.

That sound was my head hitting the keyboard.

The story would not get started until I tried FPP tense, then it flowed. Now that I am firmly in my rather passive-aggressive male protagonist’s head, FPP is tedious and I want to go back. I think I needed to really BE him for seven chapters. I am editing and revising as I go.

But, URGH.

Happy cutting, MF!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

When I worked in mental health “cutting” meant something else, so I’m breathing a HUGE sigh of relief!

Those words scared me, Megan: I am a cutter

In manuscripts, I actually prefer the editing process to the first draft. I love sprucing up what I wrote and making it better, even if it means cutting, which it almost always does.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

Diane, Megan Fox was talking about what you were talking about–sorry for scaring you! I have to admit to using it for effect.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

I actually really enjoy cutting (the writing variety–not the Megan Fox variety. Though, even though she is extremely annoying, I have to give her props for using a “King Lear” quote for a tattoo). There is something satisfying in cutting extraneous plot-ty stuff and getting to the heart of the story, especially when I get to use multi-colored pencils! (much like cleaning out shoes from my closet shelf, as I was doing this afternoon. I have way, way too many shoes)

13 years ago

Megan Fox is intriquing. There is her fascination with Marilyn Monroe, an actress like Megan, beautiful, in demand, not given enough intellectual credit. But I say, sometimes it takes a very smart person to behave like a ditz. Most times, underneath the ditz lies great sorrow. Megan has the tenacity to say what she thinks without censorship. Oh, to be so free! (Right or wrong, she can be applauded for not giving a rat’s patootie about what people think.)

I love to ponder what made her so hard-edged. Perhaps that is her charm and what has rocketed her to star status.

Cutting… horrors!!

13 years ago

You did not just compare “cutting” words in a manuscript to self-injury.

Seriously. WTF.

13 years ago

That was SERIOUSLY uncalled for. Unnecessary, uncalled for, and just downright disrespectful.

Friends of mine, and I myself used to have problems with cutting. That is seriously not funny. Grow up.

Patricia Barraclough
Patricia Barraclough
13 years ago

You are certainly making some major changes in your story. It would hurt to make that much of a change in a story. Good luck with it. Hope itdoes well.

Jane George
13 years ago

As a former punk rock IV drug abuser who used to do horrendous things to herself, I defend any writer’s right to use the metaphor of her/his choice.

Pain is universal and human, and is a better learning tool when out in the open. Megan Fox apparently already knows this.

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

For the two commenters who were offended: I apologize if you were offended, but if you read the entire post, you’ll see I did not compare editing to cutting. I mentioned a comment a celebrity made In a recent interview. And then talked about editing. If you have a further issue with my post, please email me directly at meganframpton @ yahoo.com. I’d be happy to discuss it with you.

13 years ago

“I mentioned a comment a celebrity made In a recent interview. And then talked about editing.”

And as an author, you should understand drawing a connection between two things.

That is an incredibly weak defense. The two were clearly related, you mentioned cutting and then you use that as a metaphor for your editing process. That’s an explicit connection. And yes, what you had to say initially was really offensive, and no, I don’t think I care to email you about it. I think you should be called on the carpet for it in public.

That was not okay. Show some class and own up to it with better than “I’m sorry YOU were offended.” Because that’s not an apology.

How about “I’m sorry I said something offensive?”

Megan Frampton
13 years ago

To respond again, and then I will stop:

I don’t think I said anything offensive. I AM sorry if people were offended.

If you are familiar with my blog post style, you will see that I frequently associate very serious topics with light-hearted ones, mostly to poke fun at myself. It’s a sense of humor that obviously doesn’t work for some. In it, I am inspired by, most especially, Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock. I always forget what that type of writing is called, but it’s something I enjoy.

I won’t respond in a public forum again. If you want to take it up with me in private, please email me.

Jane George
13 years ago

Not meaning to draw this out here, but I remembered reading that Jane Austen referred to her revisions on Pride and Prejudice as having “lopped and chopped,” her book. So now we have our Regency tie-in.

And that’s enough from me. For a while, actually. I need to go off-line for as long as necessary to get some serious work done. I’m chairing an RWA chapter contest and there is a whole bunch of other stuff on my plate I need to chew through, including my own book and illustration projects.

I’ll miss my daily dose of Riskies, but I’ll be back!

Gwynlyn MacKenzie
13 years ago

I, too, am trying to pull several threads and insert one new one without reweaving the entire tapestry so I can empathize. It’s not fun, but it’s certainly educational.

Elena Greene
13 years ago

Jane, we will miss you!

Late to the discussion, but I always end up cutting at least 10% and it always improves the ms.

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