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Delete 785 Words — 2 Comments

  1. Excellent advice! Thanks for posting your process. Very helpful. I will share this with my students, some of whom seem to think that revision is crisis in action. I personally HATE revising, or at least I did when I was at Stonecoast. I think part of the reason was that it was so daunting. I didn’t know how to begin, where to enter and what to look for. The first time I actually deleted pages was very difficult. I have friends who keep all “extras” in a desktop file. I toss mine. If they were that good, I can recreate them. I write long, and now I’m finding that the more I trim away, the clearer the story becomes. I find subtext and themes emerging that I may have been unaware of. But it is still hard to throw away words. I just keep repeating my mantra, “I am the master of my fate, the captain of my ship. And my words are not me. They are . . . words.” We could think of it as distillation, which seems so pretentious a word until we remember that moonshine is distilled. You are making moonshine.

  2. Kudos, Cynthia! And great advice. I find myself chopping out things I initially thought were brilliant even in a one page blog entry. Even when it’s hard to wield the “cut” tool, it’s often the best thing to do.

    Can’t wait to see your story!

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