I am a pantser. I can write ten pages about the eraser on your desk. Yes, remember pencils, those things that you can write words with requiring a ... well, I can describe that rubber blob in eleven-hundred ways. I’m not bragging; I’m stating a fact. A wordsmith will wax forever because words are addictive, paper is cheap, and the infinite scarf of space on your computer screen is longer than the universe.
So let me, instead, draw your attention to that pair of scissors in your drawer. After the gush on virtual paper, comes the dreaded editing, as we all know, on hard copy. Not possible with a couple of wimpy taps on a quiet delete button, but the kind of culling which takes a pair of scissors. Think: sea of shimmering film on a cutting room floor. It’s a good visual on how much work is over the top, or just too much of a purple thing. Moving a story forward takes surgical skill with a chain saw. The story rules, or should I say, editors rule. Either one, you must step away from the keyboard and retreat because soon your intrepid editor will team up with story and wrestle you to the ground. Just say thank you.
So, think professional editor armed with an arsenal of red pens. Someone that loves and hates what you write. Yeah, that breed of editor. You definitely want one of those. One who will attack your pages in a frenzy and cut your ego to size at the same time.
After the first shock, comes denial, but after denial comes realization. Culling the wild herd will help the balance of nature in the long run, and you can file the jetsom in a little box and wear it around your neck for a while to remind you that you are a brave author. Brave doesn’t mean fearless; it means you will step up to those plates (the balancing circus ones) and frisbee a few of them into the horizon.
This is not the gentle filing down of an intrusive fingernail but taking a leap of faith into that old chestnut of ‘less is more,’ as trite as that sounds. Remember, you like cake and can eat it too, with mucho chocolato gusto, but after a few slices it doesn’t sit well on your soul. How do I know? I almost described that shimmering sea of film as glossy waves of black celluloid reaching into... well, you get my drift. Purple prose is a good chocolaty sensation in small bites.
Now if only I could do what I say, I will be fine. My first novel weighed in at 1,200 pages which is why it’s now a trilogy. For passionate wordsmiths everywhere, writing is a piece of cake. It’s the editing which requires a hungry monster word-killer person who you implicitly trust as both friend and word-buster. Who ya gonna call? I won’t even say the word.
About Veronica Knox
I was born in England and emigrated to Canada at age 6. I returned to England to attend the Reigate School of Art at age 17, returned to Canada at 21, and worked as a graphic designer and art director in several television stations and commercial art studios.
I finally got to do what I really wanted (to paint) and attended university as a mature (cough) student for a Fine Arts degree. Next, I had an art gallery in the Scottish highlands for a time, and lived in the Findhorn Community before returning to Canada enamored, now, of living near water (and not the freezing prairies of Alberta) I chose Nova Scotia for the symmetry of moving from old Scotland to New Scotland. Then, zoomed three thousand miles to the west coast, on Vancouver Island where I paint and get to do what I didn’t know I wanted to do which is write historical fantasies, paranormal romances, as well as middle-grade time-slip adventures for ages ten to twelve.
My latest paranormal romance is about the artist Botticelli and will be published in March.
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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