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Monday, June 4, 2012

Save the Orphans - Of your Writing

Yippee! My daughter has graduated from high school and has a job to occupy her this summer. My sixteen-year-old son would rather I forgot he existed (no luck there, boy) and School's. Out. for. The summer. My time is now! I have commited to finishing my novel, Zombies are Forever (288 pages so far), and self-publish it in the fall. This is the first time I've told anyone on the internet. I feel a bit faint.

Now that I'm revising, I am running into that age old writer problem. Killing off the orphans of my writing. These are the bits and snippets that I love, but do not really belong in my story. Unlike the awful, messy stuff we do while drafting, these are the bits I am actually quite fond of. Look at that clever bit, that turn of phrase. I love you! Kisses.

But they don't belong in my book. That is why they are orphans. Poor displaced, lovely tykes that I could not just x out of existence. For years it made revising an agonizing process. They had to be cast adrift because they did not serve the story or distracted from the tone, or they just didn't fit in, bless their quirkly little hearts. Leaving them in would have made the Bad Seed of their natures come out and run amok in my tale, evicerating innocent, necessary bits. (amok, amok, amok - sorry, I am compelled to do that every time I use that word).

I felt guilty about abandoning my creations. Then one day, I opened a file and started dropping them in my orphange document. This made things much easier when I was revising. After all, I wasn't killing them by sending them on their way into the land of delete. I was providing for them. Saving them for another day. While knowing how way leads on to way.... Yes, I was ignoring the fact that they probably would never find a home, bless their weird little verbiages. Shhhh. Don't think about it.

So that is my drafting advice to you, after I have revised 28 pages, or the first 10% of my book. Save the orphans. You'll feel much better for it.


Donna Volkenannt said...

Congratulations--on your daughter's graduation, on her having a job, and for having a 16-year-old son, oh, and for picking up your Zombie novel again.
Hope you have a great summer!

Tricia Grissom said...

Thanks donna! Hope u guys do too. Glad to be back at it.

BPO said...

If only i can give my full support I would do it.