Friday, November 21, 2008

My Fickle Mind

I'm forever changing my mind about my work, but once I find that melodious chord with something I've been struggling to get right, I follow that and am always happy with the end result.

I had posted an edited version of my Celebrity Vampire story here. For the contest I had 2556 words and for another contest, I stripped it down to 2000 words to fit and just put that shorter version here because it would be less words for a post, but in doing so, the piece lost the sort of seductive quality in the rhythm. It's like if you hear an original song that's so good and then hear a cover tune that's terribly tweaked, you nearly want to pull your hair out. So now, I've gone ahead and made the switch and put the original in. I like it so much better.

Over-editing can sometimes remove what you were trying to accomplish and taint the tone and texture. In my book Kings & Queens I have this one sentence in my first paragraph, "...shifting clouds wiped sunlight off her arms and buried the surrounding frenzy in shadow." Some will say, this should be simplified. And I say, no, it shouldn't. Everything in writing is not all about word economy. Being terse for the most part is important, true, but sometimes fuller strands can be used to create tone or contrast, build imagery or add a lyrical quality to the prose. I feel the verbs "wiped" and "buried" help to provide the ominous tone I want in the beginning. Originally, I did have it simplified and it sounded too bubblegum.

I'm always aiming to make my work better. Maybe some editor will like the deeper nuances the way they are in my book but maybe another would want such things stripped out. I'll certainly make some changes, but I will be greatly saddened if I am asked to soak it in acid, dumb it down and reduce into something much less than what I intended, as any artist would be if a museum said it only accept art pieces if all fine detail's removed, leaving only broad strokes.

Some people do bleed way too much ink. Compare your work to other contemporary works to see how your prose stacks up. If it fits the norm, stay the course. If it seems sludgy, too flowery, redundant, too dry, then you'll definitely need some scissors and paste for a fix. Kill your darlings. Edit, but don't over-edit. You found a rhythm and voice for a reason. Trust in your story and in your ability to tell it.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs.

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