Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When In Doubt, Cut It Out

“As my writing professor, the great William Zinsser, used to tell us, ‘Be grateful for every word you can cut.’" -- Christopher Buckley in General advice from published authors to aspiring writers.
This goes along with yesterday’s post about getting rid of noise. Cutting words is, for me, the hardest part of writing a story. I read and reread a sentence or phrase and congratulate myself on how wonderful it is. Often, if I keep reading the same passage -- because a voice is telling me it's not that great -- and find myself bored with something, or if the rhythm doesn’t feel right, I relent and either change or delete the text. Sometimes, if I think of it, I copy the prose into a separate document for later use. I’ve yet to incorporate any of these clips in other stories. :)

1 comment:

latisha said...

'you gotta kill your babies' one writer said to me. i loved this. i do what you do - save great lines for another story when i cant kill em completely. ive actually been able to write entire pieces based on one line i couldnt get rid of that had nothing to do with the original piece i was writing.

great quote and perspective.