Monday, November 2, 2009

The Shortest Distance Between Two Thoughts...

What I am doing right now (not right now as you read this, but currently, in my writing life): Line. Edits.

Have you ever stared at something long enough that you couldn't see it anymore? Like that air vent that's been on your floor since you moved into your house. Or that tiny stuck pixel on your computer screen that's always red when all the other pixels are black. Something is always in front of you so it starts to disappear.

Well, that's what happened to me with TM. Let's ponder this, shall we?

I wrote about seven versions of TM before I arrived at the one I've got now. Five of those versions were pretty short, admittedly, because I hit my sticking place and had to start over. The sixth version I worked with for the entirety of last year. I probably read that draft like...ten times. And then, when I did my TM Overhaul earlier this year, I read THAT about five times. So I know this story backwards, forwards, sideways, and diagonally. And up until like two weeks ago, every single sentence had disappeared for me.

Scary, yes?

Two weeks ago I sat down with two copies of my draft that had been marked up by Others, and I started to see the sentences again. Why? Because I really like to use the phrase "took a sip of" when I should have used "sipped." Because you don't need to say "reached out and touched" when you could just say "touched". Because every...word...counts. Mraaaaagh.

I have edited 83 pages so far, and I have already cut 5,500 words. For those of you who don't think in words, that's like...a little over 15 pages. And that's just sentence-to-sentence. I'm not axe-ing huge chunks or anything. So here's my question:

Who knew this was possible?

Let me tell you, though. It feels kind of awesome. When I reread, everything sounds clean to me, like it's been scrubbed with a Mr. Clean magic sponge or whatever they're called. Clear thinking leads to clear writing. And clear writing kicks buns.


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