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Deletia — or, a fresh start

6 February 2012

Funny enough, this is actually just the lunch menu.I’m not one of those writers who gets impossibly attached to every word, but I know some writers who are. I tend to think of these writers one day staring down the barrel of 300 pages of edits, thinking “my words are my children,” and throwing the pages up into the air (or the laptop on which they reside). I have a very soap-operatic imagination.

So when edits come along, I don’t have a huge problem changing whatever is necessary. If I need to rewrite a whole chapter, so be it. That’s cool. I have absolutely no qualms about making changes my editors ask for, because they know more than me, and I freely admit that. (Note: Please don’t take this as an indication that I don’t have problems with Writer’s Ego, because I do. And they’re massive.)

But there are times I balk at changing things, and those happen when I’m the one suggesting I make changes.

Let me explain — we’ll all write things that, for one reason or another, don’t quite work. In my case, it’s usually right off the bat, when I start a story. Supercritical had two different beginnings before the one I eventually settled on — to date, 47 Echo 3 has three. I know I need to rewrite these things, sometimes even throw them out and start over… but I hate doing it. It looks to me like the falsified document above — a blacked-out, cut-up version of this great idea I once had.

But here’s the thing — if I’m honest, the idea wasn’t so great. If it was, I wouldn’t have had to change it. And that’s OK — you have to give yourself license to make mistakes. And when you go to rewrite whatever you cut out, why not see it as a fresh start? A chance to make something even cooler?

Still, we can all be like poker players and tell stories of our bad beats, or like fishermen and tell stories of the one that got away. What’s your favorite piece of writing or creating that you’ve done that ended up on the cutting-room floor, so to speak?

One Comment leave one →
  1. 7 February 2012 0324

    I get attached to every word and have a hard time editing what I’ve written but not because I think my words are brilliant or anything. Rather, they just seem to flow in the proper order, they fit together like puzzle pieces, so trying to squeeze in a few extra words (or remove a few others) just violates the “perfect” placement.

    I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I put the words there, so my brain is already in the groove (or rut). I don’t have trouble finding fault with things other people have written, and I’m sure others won’t see the perfectly complete puzzle of words that my writing appears to me.

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