Friday, May 16, 2014

Cut it out

Writing is re-writing, and re-writing is cutting.

As a young man once said to me, "Get aggressive with it." At the time it was an incredibly stupid thing to say, given the situation. But that was then, and this is now. So, dig out the scissors and X-acto blades, ruler and tape from the back of that junk drawer because it's hacking time.

Was it Germanicus that once said "Fortune favors the bold?" Doubtful, but we'll pretend he did. Have no fear and remove that lovely prose you are so proud of. Destroy every adverb. Insist on being succinct. Be gruntled in your gratuitous expenditure of destruction.

That all sounds like fun, but why? You have spent time believing what you wrote is worthy for others to read, right? Think of this as mining. You have a lovely pile of coal, which in itself is quite wonderful. Getting it out of the mountain is a huge accomplishment. And yes, coal is a valuable commodity; someone will buy it. But that's not why you are here. Simply providing something for the masses will only yield "something". No, you want the diamonds that are hidden in that dark heap of words. You want the real value of what you have. So be bold young man. Get aggressive with it.

Just make sure you have a great backup!

Other blog posts by Eric Michalsen
Follow Eric on Twitter @michalsen or catch up on his rantings at his blog.

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