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Saturday, April 4, 2009

I am an over-writer....sigh....

So, like any other writer, I once read Stephen King's book about writing called On Writing. Truly it is a great book. Even though I don't read King's fiction (because basically it scares me), I greatly enjoyed his insights into writing. I especially liked the part where he said that the only time he really considered not pursuing writing was when he was a teacher.....that the act of teaching sucks the same part of your soul that you need for writing. (too true sometimes.....)

But the part that really hit home with me last week was what he wrote about revision. (I don't remember it word for word, and I don't feel like finding the book and quoting right now.) But he said something about the importance of cutting stuff out.....like up to a quarter or a third of what you wrote. Gulp. That's a lot. I thought that was probably because he just wrote too much to begin with, over-describing stuff and all that. I figured that if I ever wrote a long piece (like a novel) I would probably have to add stuff during revision, because I'd probably have to explain stuff better upon rereading.

Turns out, I'm an over-writer. ..sigh. In certain situations, I tend to over-explain stuff. I ended up cutting out about 10,000 words from a work that I thought I'd probably have to pad. Go figure.

I think that was what struck me about Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. It was remarkable to me not only because of the writing of the story....but because of what he chose not to say within the context of his novel.

Rereading with fresh eyes........never a bad thing.

hrh

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