Sunday, August 2, 2015

how to prune a manuscript

This week was "re-pot the house plants" week for me. Their roots needed a little room to stretch and a shot of plant food for encouragement. The problem is they went from this:

...and this: this:

...because if you want your garden to flourish you have to trim it back every so often. Then the new flowers will come in fuller and thicker, and the plant will be stronger and better than ever. It was a painful process...cutting off all those blossoms with nothing but wishful thinking for the future.

It occurred to me that this is a lot like revising a manuscript, especially when it seems to be coming along just fine. Before you submit it, you have to uproot the whole thing, chop out passages that you think are perfect just the way they are, cut away the beautiful literary rhetoric, and then wait to see what develops.

Hopefully it will come back stronger, fuller, and tighter than ever. Your critique partners will "ooh" and "ahh" when they see what you have done. It will have been worth the time, effort, and loving kindness you put into it because, like your garden, your writing will be better.

"To plant a garden 
is to believe in tomorrow."
~Audrey Hepburn~
I was tempted not to blog today because it was just so beautiful outdoors and I was really busy this weekend:

But I couldn't help myself...

Have a great week!

No comments:

Post a Comment