Monday, February 18, 2013

MMWUC: Simplicity

Some days you just have to be reminded to focus on what is most important to you in the long run, short run, this week, today, or in the next hour. Whether it is a novel or a word, as long as you move it forward, that's what counts. And yes, losing 10,000 words through a great edit is moving forward.

I've been hammering on a short story that was nothing more than a spit of a memory, a lost night that meant nothing over forty years ago, that wasn't even an important night for me, but for someone else. I've been dragging characters around on the page like Linus with his blanket, sloshing them through the ink, so they could leave their mark on my MC. I've pulled other thoughts, feelings, emotions, and stories absolutely unrelated to this story and made them related like an unknown sibling found, embraced, and folded into the family. I've tapped into locations I've never been to and let Google Earth make them come alive. And I've watched on music video over a hundred times in the past week, making it speak to me in the haunting tone I want to bring to the story. I want slosh Samuel Addams beer on the reader; sniff the salty air of Asbury Park in the 1970s; touch a dead body that rises again; hear the voices in my head--my MC's head; and see the loves of my MC's life as clear as the person in the mirror in the morning.

The story wants to run out of bounds, but I keep reining it in, focusing it on the laser sharp original intent. After 3,100 additional words on Sunday, it is now 5,973 words. 973 beyond what is required, mandated, allowed. Tomorrow and the next day and the next, I will focus on editing it to make it sharper. Always focusing. Tightening. And if it should remain beyond this goal after the good editing fight is over, perhaps it will whisper that it was intended for another goal, and I am only a tool used to give it birth. Focus on that! And write.

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