Friday, September 27, 2013

Writing, Editing, and other Fun

After Sadie left I wanted to take a nap but knew there wasn’t time. But then I fell asleep in the bathtub so managed a few minutes. (chuckling here) I actually thought it was the cat waking me and then realized it was my own soft purring breaths.

It wasn’t my three year old granddaughter who wore me out. She had a tummy ache so we stayed home and cleaned out bedroom dressers which, when we got to the accessories, interested Sadie greatly. Scarves, belts, and costume jewellery. Oh, and purses. Those little clutches with sequins, or beading, or just shiny little bags with long skinny straps. Yes, she loved those the best. Look Nana, they fit me. I laughed. The little purse practically touched the floor. The jewellery was the best. Chunks of plastic that she used words like amazing, lovely, and corgeous to describe. That’s right, corgeous.

No, if I had to account for my fatigue it would not be my fun day with Sadie, it would have to be mental depletion from my writing activities the night before. A short thriller/suspense/crime/goosebump kind of story. Actually, it’s not the writing that tires me, it’s the editing. (a collective groan here).  It doesn’t necessarily mean I hate editing. I like it. Really, I do. I like it even better when I’m finished.

Here’s how it works. I write the story. It might take hours, days, or weeks. When the story looks good−meaning I love it just the way it is−I SAVE it. Next, I save it to a new file and go crazy. I rip it apart. Take the middle paragraph and use it to open the story. My finger hovers over the delete button as I dawdle over my favourite sentence. The one I felt smug about when I tapped it out on the keyboard.  But what the heck, my ready-to-go story is safe and sound in another file. I ramrod over the words, killing my darlings, and changing anything that sounds like writing.

My favourite authors are those who keep me on the edge of my seat and make me feel as if they are sitting across from me telling me this unbelievably wild story and I believe it. I believe every word they say. I mean that’s why it’s so unbelievable, right? No, it doesn’t sound like writing. It should never sound like writing. Not the crime and suspense anyway.

Think about it. Stephen King is the best when it comes to painting a colour by colour picture of his characters. You don’t even realize he’s doing it and then they’re right before your eyes. From a furled ear and slumped shoulders to pidgeon toes. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

In the end, I liked the new revision of my story the best. Decided to go with it. That’s what tired me out. Feeling my heart race when I got it right, and relief that it was finished. I’d given birth to another story.

It wasn’t until the next day, after my time with Sadie, that it hit me. That’s when it would have been good to curl up in my pyjamas and watch some mindless TV−fall asleep. That was out. I’d committed myself to attending an authors’ reading. I always follow through on a commitment. I like to think I do anyway. Besides, listening to authors who have made the journey can be very inspiring.

All writers talk about...The Journey. I never really got it until this past year.
This is a picture that my friend, Debbie Okun Hill, snapped from the hotel window as I headed out to my own reading.  
It feels like I’m moving in the right direction.




  1. Kids can be fun, but they have more energy than adults, it seems.

  2. Terry, wait until you're a grandparent. Then you won't say 'kids CAN be fun'. The kids are always fun. If not you just send them home. Just kiddin'