Tag Archives: rewriting

Spare the Junk

Links to: WikiHow.  (Yes, how to crumple a sheet of paper.)

If you’re serious about writing or any other art form, then you have to learn the practice of starting over.  Remember the portrayal of the writer in front of a typewriter, clacking away and throwing away whole sheets of paper into the waste basket?

Yeah, the computer in all of its shapes and forms hasn’t changed the need to start over.  The ease of being able to type or delete text does not mean the process will run any smoother or faster.  Maybe the speed at which you enter the results, but that’s it.  You have to reject the impression that the overall process is better or faster.

If anything, writing has become more of a challenge in this century.  And it’s not because of narcissism.  (Well, not entirely.)  Technology has allowed things to become more complicated than ever.  You can’t resonate well telling tales stuck in the 1700s.  (You can, however find good progress in nonfiction, so don’t take the 1700s off the table.)

The point is, flaws will always affect your work, and that’s okay.  But you can’t become too attached to the material results.  Sure, you’re advancing, but the results are meant to convey something, not the other way around.

So ask yourself: what are you really getting at?  Creating deserves to be effective.  What would happen if you removed a whole sentence that was flawed?  A sentence with redundant detail is a junk sentence; removing it is not a death sentence.

This ‘gutting’ applies especially to fiction.  Just the fact that you’re coming up with something false means you’re running the risk of going off the deep end.  You have to study nonfiction in order to write believable fiction.  If anything, you should be out there absorbing anything you can sans expectations good or bad.

If you’re someone who has, in part, started the practice to work out personal problems then you must hear this: art to settle scores isn’t art.  You’re not writing to unleash baggage on the reader.  Sure, you can put your struggles into characters, but ultimately, you have to know what you’re doing; and it’s even harder than that.

You can be a man of your words (or woman of), but you are not your words.  A good editor will help, but you still have to work on your own stuff.

The real message can become lost in the words.  It only takes a drop of ink to poison a glass of water.  And I’m not talking typos.  Making your words count does not mean being more ‘wordy.’

Art is from the heart.

Art is really the practice of learning how to properly translate what the heart is saying.  Everyone has the potential.

If you’re not able to rewrite, then you’re either a prophet, or an artist who’s lost his/her way.  If you can’t start over somewhere to get the message right, then you haven’t really absorbed your world as opposed to collecting it.  Age cannot kill timeless truths.

Only you know what’s true to you, and you will be tested in life, not just art.  When it comes to the constructive flow, you must allow the flaws to come out so that they can be worked out.  Not feared, but also not left unresolved.

You can utilize plot devices and metaphors, but good writing is always along the lines of perspective.  Professional or not, your voice is there, wanting to speak its truth, however needing an education to translate that truth properly.

So, what are you really getting at?