Friday, May 17, 2013

Taking the Garbage Out: Trash Writing

If your home is like mine, the garbage can is completely filled and spilling over before it is taken out.

I try to catch it before then.

When every eye in the household has obviously seen the problem and walked past it, I do the dreadful duty so that the food and containers don't end up on the floor.

Is your writing ever like that?

Photo by: Martin Stein, courtesy of Flickr
You may have thought from the title that I was going to talk about a certain type of writing, and I hope I haven't disappointed you, but trash writing (in my humble opinion) has more to do with leaky, smelly and dirty stuff that shouldn't be in your work in the first place and that's not necessarily because it's been hunkering down in the back room.

What I'm talking about here is garbage, that if removed from your manuscript, will clean up your work. What I'm talking about here is choosing flow over favorite sentences. Being willing to cut the first three chapters of your book because they're really not needed. (The story really begins in chapter 4). It means taking out a character, or improving upon those already spending time in your book. It means editing those things that may be beautifully written, but that need to be used in some other story, or dumped.

Photo by: drewgstephens, courtesy of Flickr
An over-full garbage can is a royal mess, but if the can is emptied frequently of garbage the room smells nice and the stress level of the major trash dumper is that much better.

Like taking out the garbage, editing for greater clarity will always be needed, but the task is that much easier if the trash dumper is willing to take the garbage out on a regular and frequent basis.
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