Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Un-writing is Harder

“The hardest part of becoming a writer isn’t learning how to write; it’s learning how to un-write.” -- I.J. Schecter in “Trimming the Deadweight in Your Manuscript,” published in the 2009 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market.
Amen. Sometimes a story rolls off my fingers onto the screen, and other times I struggle to get even the first draft done. Regardless of which way a story begins, the un-writing is still tougher. I remember one piece where the idea of a group of people scurrying from a bar “like chickens with their heads cut off” -- I didn’t use that exact phrase in the story -- came to mind. I really liked the idea, but some of the critiques I received thought it pulled the reader from the story. I knew they were right, but couldn’t let go of the scene. I finally deleted it in the last rewrite. Getting rid of pet scenes, adjectives, adverbs, and other unneeded elements in a story is often the hardest part of the writing process.

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