Words on Words ~ TODAY’S WORD: ‘WRITING’
“Writing is a messy business.”
Each page of the handwritten manuscript is blotted with cross-outs, strike-overs, arrows pointing to a bit of re-write, underlines indicating a section that resonates with the author. And more.
I’ve tried composing strictly on the computer but frequently find I’ve deleted something that didn’t seem quite right only to discover that I could have used it further down the page or in the next chapter. If I still had a written copy of the now deleted text, it could easily have been typed into the space appropriate to it. But it didn’t stay in my brain long enough to retrieve it from there.
The next problem is, of course, knowing how much of the early writing truly is worth saving. These words are your own children, after all, and each has a special place in your mind, if not in your heart, so the tendency would be to save every single syllable. Trying to save all the pretty words is fairly unworkable. There are just too many of them, each saying approximately the same thing but with small nuances and minor corrections.
It is not unusual, I believe, for an author to re-write any given paragraph eight or ten times, much of the time reworking the piece directly on the computer by deleting the unwanted material in favor of the newer edition. In this case, the earlier copy almost certainly has been erased in favor of what has just been written. And by the time you realize that some of it could have been incorporated into the new bit very compatible, you can’t remember what it was, exactly.
So, the answer, I’m thinking is having more than one computer and switching back and forth between them, incorporating any great bits as you move from one to the other. Very cumbersome, to be sure, but breathless bits of prose are worth the effort. So, one problem figuratively solved.
Next, comes the bigger problem: How to recognize those ‘breathless bits of prose’ as actually worth saving. Hard to separate vanity over one’s own words from the reality that perhaps they really should have been deleted permanently. Writers are not often the best critics where their own words are in the balance. So, what to do?
Oh, wait a minute! Isn’t that what beta reader and editors are for?
KEEP WRITING AUTHORS! ~ Ellie Pulikonda, Author
(“Finding Faith” is now Released on Amazon Kindle Store for Just $2.99! )