The “Good Parts” Version

Hello, friends.  Casey here. I was all set to write a Halloween themed post, but instead, I’d rather recommend a book and a philosophy.

I recently read Cary Elwes book, As You Wish:Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride.  When I heard this book was out, I did a very strange thing. I ran to Barnes and Noble and bought the hardcover. And I paid full price! 

Normally, I buy digital. Largely because I am drowning in books. So obviously, to me, this was a special “must have” book.

After purchasing my copy, I dropped everything I was doing and read it. I laughed, I cried (especially the parts about Andre the Giant) and I remembered my own life back then with this strange nostalgia.

It’s hard to believe that when the movie was released in 1987 that it wasn’t a theatrical success. It’s popularity arrived after the video release of the movie. Then, I’m sure there were plenty of people who’d wished they’d seen it in the theater.

I’m one of the lucky people who did see it in a theater. And, while many years have passed, I remember that experience. My college housemates and I went to a matinee (probably to escape studying) in nearby Virginia. It was LOVE at first viewing. I remember thinking it was the most amazing movie I’d ever seen. In short, I knew I’d seen something special. Almost life changing.

It wasn’t any one thing either but a combination of the perfect actors, with the right director and, by golly, the dialogue. So many gems. These  are some of my favorite:

“Inconceivable!”

“Get used to disappointment.”

“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

And, the most romantic way of saying, I love you – “As you wish.”

Now close to thirty years later, as a writer, I can’t help but think, “Damn. This is like the most perfect fairy tale. Ever.”

And not just the movie version, but the book too. Somehow, I managed to completely miss reading the book growing up. I rectified that when the 25th anniversary edition came out. One of the writer lessons I learned (and must have internalized) was the subtitle: The “Good Parts” Version.

And it means exactly what it says. No long, boring dissertations about landscapes, clothing, room decor, etc. In short, all the things I hate as a reader. All the parts that I gloss over or skip right past.

I’m in the process of editing my first contemporary romance- Over Easy. And I’ve been cutting like a fiend. I’ve been creating what I hope is, The “Good Parts” Version.

And really, that is what editing should be all about. Creating the best, grab the reader by the pants, version of a story.

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2 thoughts on “The “Good Parts” Version”

  1. A great post Casey. Thanks. Thanks for passing on your exhilaration and wisdom. Best of everything with your “Good Parts” Version of your first contemporary romance- Over Easy. Editing is the most fun part of writing anyway, don’t you think?

  2. Loved the Princess Bride! Brilliant, funny, and the writing was fantastic. As for only leaving in the “good parts” of a manuscript during the editing phase, I am always challenged to find the balance between setting the scene and overdone description. I am a fan of description, so for me, those ARE the good parts, but I know readers often gloss over, as you say, anything that isn’t action or dialogue. Rather than cut out all the “fluff” I opt for paring it down during editing. I try to find the most concise way of describing or setting the scene, and keep asking myself, “Does the reader need to know this? And do they need to know it now?” That helps me keep narrative in check and streamline my descriptive passages. Best of luck with your contemporary and your editing process!

    If you haven’t tried Autocrit, I highly recommend it! The “pacing” report definitely catches those passages that slow the story down or are too much exposition.

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