Sunday, August 17, 2008

Yes that sentence is like poetry but IT HAS TO GO...

As well as the ability to objectively recognize when part of your story sucks there are some other fairly important weapons in the writers arsenal (I have to say I like that word despite the fact I am a peace loving person). Arsenal (sorry i just had to say it again and once more for good time) arsenal. Okay I'm good for now. So in addition to acknowledging the bad stuff, it is also handy to recognize the really good stuff that just doesn't belong. Sometimes the prettiest, most elegant, brilliant use of words isn't right. You know you love that sentence but everytime you read over it, it sticks out like a broken leg in a cast. Recognizing its a problem is the first skill but the even greater skill rests in being able to rip that sentence right out. What you take out can be as important as what you leave in. At the beginning of my writing career everything stayed in. Editing was a strange act that other people did behind closed doors. Worse still, I didn't need to edit. I'd worked too hard on those words to ditch any of them. Luckily things changed. The story rules. If the words don't tell the story, if they aren't relevant, or don't contribute they shouldn't be there. If they don't tell you something about the setting, or the characters what is their purpose? To successfully use these tools you have to have a clear vision about your story and your characters. Even if you don't have every detail mapped out before you start writing, you should be in control. If you have clarity and control of your story then editing will be fairly straightforward.

I stayed up late Saturday night watching NZ competitiors do their stuff at the Olympics. I felt for Mahe Drysdale getting pipped by two other rowers in the final 500m of his race. He got a bronze medal but deserves a gold medal for giving it his all despite the circumstances and then refusing to blame those circumstances for the outcome. It seems cruel that the product of years of training is decided in a few minutes at a specific point in time. I guess it is the same for all competitors but luck certainly plays a part. Whatever the results i'm proud to be a Kiwi and respect all of NZ's sportsmen and women for their dedication and their efforts. We do pretty well for a small country. Its very motivating.

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