Archive for October, 2011

Don’t Edit Out The Best Parts.
October 30, 2011

Ever notice how when you’re in editing mode, all of life can be edited?

Dog’s hair grown shaggy and uneven? Trim Edit it. The garden, tree limbs thrown everywhere? Edit it. The horses’ manes twisted into baby dreads by monsoon winds? Brush to edit.

I’ve edited radio commercials in my head that, with a few tweaks, sound even stronger. Same goes for television dialogue, presidential speeches, greeting cards, news articles and even the back of the Finesse shampoo bottle. 

In fiction, though, it’s the flaws and imperfections that make for original characters. I’d go even further and not call them flaws, but quirks — self-marks — that lend characters their unique, flesh and blood personas. 

Sometimes real means holding back  — resisting the urge to edit out the rawness and ruin the writing, even if it isn’t perfect. Perfectionism can masquerade as editing. Even worse, it can erase the best part: your voice.

Through your voice, you, the author, are a character in your stories. You leave your ambiance, your mental footprints behind. Too sterile, too perfect, and all is lost.

There’s a fine line — a tightrope walk — between revision –re-visioning — and nervous tinkering.

Grass need mowing? Edit it. Character imperfect, multi-dimensional, heart raw, hair shaggy?

Resist the urge.