Thursday, July 4, 2013


The view I see most when writing this blog. My comfy chair aids me in thinking. This morning I was sitting on the patio looking at a big old privet shrub. It grows at the end of my house in front of the guest bedroom window.

I have never liked that ugly bush.

It was here when I bought the house and I've dreaded taking it out. And there's just something about hacking down a perfectly good bush that's been growing for years. It's not hurting anything, and it'll be a lot of trouble removing it. The whole area will have to be reworked.

As I sipped my coffee and studied the bush, I was reminded of an article I'd read just recently about writing tight and clean, cutting unnecessary words ( word flab ) from your manuscript. When I first began to write, that was confusing advice. Lots of words are unnecessary, but their fun and descriptive. I kinda like wordy. Wouldn't I run the risk of writing dry and boring?

But the more I've studied and the more I read and write, I see, as one normally does, what the experts are talking about. Experts being those who've been there, done that and are worthy of being published.

So when my sister and next door neighbor sat down with me, I told her I thought that shrub should be taken out. No telling how many times she'd heard me say that. Apparently it was one time too many.
"Well, lets go take it out." She said.
"Right now?" I replied. This bush stands heads taller than we are.
"Sure, why not now?"

I was apprehensive.

But, we tackled it right then. When her husband saw what we were doing and offered to help, it didn't take long until a stump lay on the grass beside the huge pile of privet remains.

Now my flower bed has a beautiful white rose planted there. I can see out the window. That whole end of the house looks neat and clean. I love it! My arm muscles benefited from the exercise too.

It reminded me of the first time I was advised to cut out a large section of unnecessary and mind numbing backstory in the manuscript I was working on. I stalled. I'd worked so long on that part, and I really liked it. It would mean re-working the whole thing. Maybe my adviser was wrong?

Every article I read after that had something about too much backstory. Finally I couldn't ignore it. I went back to my manuscript with a heavy heart and a very critical eye. I heard my sister's voice, "Just take it out, now!"

I look out my window at the improvement in my flower bed. The effort had been so worth it.

I took the 'chopping' ax to that manuscript. It hurt. But once I got started, it was purging, I couldn't believe what all came out. And, as in the flower bed, it cleaned up my manuscript and strengthened it. The reading flowed better, clarity was established. I could 'see'. I loved it!  My writing muscle is stronger for the exercise too.

Yard work is so rewarding... sigh.

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