An Ah-HA! Moment

I was reading Heather’s blog busy editing when the subject of yard sales came up. While there are NO yard sales in any of my manuscripts, Miss Heather had one and it brought back some memories of the few I’ve held.

We were doing a fairly brisk business, when this woman came along and began looking through the items we had for sale. It wasn’t too bad at first, but then I noticed that whenever she picked up something, ANYTHING, she’d give it a squint-eye, then shake her head while CLUCKING HER TONGUE.

At first it was kind of funny, but after the tenth time, I was starting to get annoyed. She was picking up MY STUFF. It got to the point where my partner thought she’d have to physically restrain me from going over and asking that woman just what was wrong with MY STUFF. IT’S PERFECTLY GOOD STUFF! My stuff is worth way more than…

It was while I was retelling this story that I had my “ah-HA!” moment.

I’m pretty much the same way with my writing. When I edit, I look at those perfectly good sentences and say, “What’s wrong with it? It’s a wonderful sentence! It’s worth a million bucks! I can’t just shake my head, cluck my tongue and toss it aside.”

So, my writing tends to get bogged down with “wonderful sentences” and in the process becomes ponderous and top heavy. I’m also not a big fan of rereading my stuff all the way through because I’m easily distracted by “Oh, this needs a change…”

It’s a paradox at times: all that “perfectly good writing” needs to be changed for the better.

My only way around this little conundrum has been my Culled Bits file. If I finally decide that my wonderful sentence just won’t work where it is, and yet I cannot bear to delete it forever, I’ll stick it into the CB file and maybe put it to use elsewhere.

What about you? Do you find yourself overly attached to your words? Does the “delete” key give you the chills, or are you a ruthless editor who can hack and slash through your writing without a backward glance?



About Ms. Karen

This is what happens when you live with a writer: there are pens everywhere, except by the phone; many notebooks with strange scribblings that make no sense but must never be thrown away; and long rambling monologues about what certain characters would, or would not do in a given situation. It's almost as difficult as living with an artist. Man, THOSE people are bizarre...
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4 Responses to An Ah-HA! Moment

  1. daoine says:

    Ah yes. I have a Deleted Scenes folder which I think in terms of the Deleted Scenes section on some DVDs. I don’t know if I’d go as far as adding commentary to it and publishing it, say, on my website, but you never know. It’s not gone; it’s just a scene I “shot” and then decided not to use in the final product, just like directors do with movies.


  2. Heather says:

    I swear the main reason I can’t get my finished manuscript edited and tidied up is because I’m fricking married to words and huge chunks of dialogue and SCENES. Even a few years distance has barely made a dent in my infatuation. Sigh.


  3. Selma says:

    I am in the process if going through rehab for word hoarding. It is tough but it does help. Less really is more in so many aspects of our lives. I am thinking of getting a tattoo across my knuckles that says DELETE to help me focus 😆


  4. Ms. Karen says:

    daoine, that’s exactly how I think of them. As long as they’re still there, they aren’t gone. It doesn’t matter if they get published, I just don’t want to lose that particular grouping of words because I’m SURE they are AWESOME.

    Heather: Yup. I loves my words and scenes and settings. Another big problem I have is my lack of descriptive writing. The scene looks great in my head, and I’ve tossed in enough words to remind ME how it looks, but it doesn’t always come across the same way to someone outside my head. Still, cutting them makes me bleed vowels.

    Selma: rehab for word hoarding! I’m going to have to join that group. Just because I’ve taken the words out and put them in another file doesn’t mean I’ve let them go. Still hoarding, just not publicly.


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