Monday, January 18, 2010

Save the Gems

The other day I got a bit of bad news. I learned one of my favorite chats for writers was being canceled. I'll be honest, I am horribly and very selfishly upset about it. I have loved being able to pick the brain of a sustained writer and take those things into my writing.

Apparently though I'm one of the few who are more verbal about this and it got me thinking. Why would you not want to save something that works and is good? One of my associates took the stance that change should just be accepted for changes sake. that since progress can only happen through change then change must be good.

I heartily disagree. Granted progress can only happen through change, but it can only happen through good change. I doubt that anyone out there would say that the Holocaust was progress.

So what does all his have to do with writing? Well, the same can be said for any story or novel out there. One of the biggest problems that I as a beginning writer struggled with was editing. I looked at my story, looked at the word count, and I changed it. I took a chainsaw to the thing to get it to fit. It was not good change.

The key in any story is to keep the fantastic little bits, the gems, in there. Now not all cool bits are gems for that story. Sometimes you have to kill your babies and take them out of the story all together. But for heaven's sake DON'T THROW THEM AWAY! Put them in a file or notebook or something that you can look through later.

A lot of stories are either inspired or enriched in this way. I call mine the "Cool stuff to use at some point" file it's on my hard drive and it has helped several times. It's created progress, good change.

So don't just kill your babies but save your gems for a later setting. you never know when it just might bring about a treasure.

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