“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
― Dr. Seuss
I love me some Theodore Geisel!
Truly though, as a writer, I feel my words are my babies. I impregnate the page with them, nurture them through sentence structure and thought processes, expell them into a full story and then foster their development and maturation into a finished manuscript. Then I sit back and revel in their brilliance. And no one had better say a disparaging or unkind word about them or they will suffer my mamma lion wrath.
And then, reality sets in… and I edit.
Editing is a lot like trying to lose weight. You have all this extra weight ( the words) that is making you feel heavy and lugubrious (telling, not showing, non-action words, fragmented sentences). You need to go on a weight reduction plan ( edit) to loose those unwanted pounds. Along the way you struggle, cheat, become discouraged, plateau, feel deprived, and then – if you are lucky – shed that unwanted and not-needed poundage. Now, you hopefully have a beach body. Or, in other words, at this point you have a manuscript that is cohesive, thought provoking and tightly written.
I have been sequestered for days, foregoing all pleasurable aspects of life such a watching Housewives of NYC and Major Crimes, eating, and exercising, in order to edit a piece that has a very good shot at publication. I am determined to “get the weight off” this piece and make it the best thing I can write.
My hair is suffering from all the pulling I am doing and my fingers are beginning to go numb from typing. But, I am pressing on and killing my babies – as Stephen King says – and whittling down the words, the fat, the bloated sentences.
I will be beach body ready soon!
My words, though they flow, are more tell than show. So I’ll cut them and prune them, and hope I don’t ruin them.
Dr. Seuss has nothing to worry about!