Yesterday , I deleted over 500 beloved words. Not fun. I didn’t grow as a writer. It didn’t correct a story flaw or lower the word count to fall in line with a market’s specification. They just didn’t belong.
Simple as that. Simple, but not easy. I don’t know why deleting my work is such a THING with me. I like short-n-sweet. I like pithy. I like writing that’s scraped down to the bone. Raymond Carver, fuck yeah. I’m proud of my stripped down writing style.
Most of the time, I don’t mind being told to cut something. I’m not five. Something isn’t special just because I made it. It’s going to a market, and– I hope– the world, not my mom’s refrigerator door. But cutting something on my own? Agony. I simply cannot.
I suppose there are some issues with trusting myself to know when to toss and when to keep the not-exactly-the-main-story stuff. Backstories and flashbacks and asides are so yummy. Characterful. The MOMENTS I like reading best. Except, I haven’t quite learned the art of the MOMENT yet. Especially the when of its placement and the how long of its appearance.
It’s weird and dreary that the aspects of writing I like best are often the stuff I pay the least critical attention too. I just enjoy them; I don’t peek behind the curtain, looking for the source of the magic. And so, I’m aware of the beats as a reader.. ooh a MOMENT is coming, but I need to work on laying down those beats as a creator.
Until then, I get to write lots of beloved MOMENTS, and delete them when the time comes. Maybe someday, books will have DVD-like extras sections, full of all the MOMENTS the author deleted in service of the main story.