First, You Write. Now, you EDIT.
A Writer’s Two Completely Different Jobs
I was reading Stephen King’s On Writing this morning and came upon the tale of his first encounter with a professional editor. He was a high school kid who got a sports-reporting job at his small-town newspaper.
Here’s what his editor told him:
“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” © 2000, Scribner p.57
He went on to say that at first what you write is for you. When you edit, you’re preparing it for the reader.
Writing coach and author Elizabeth Ayres notes that Michaelangelo claimed that carving David was merely removing the stone that wasn’t David. ” As writers, we have to create the marble first.” she said. “Your first draft is the raw material. Then you need to remove the unnecessary material and polish to reveal what’s inside.”
So, ladies, it’s time. If you’ve written your story, take it out for a rewrite, with an eye to remove everything that isn’t necessary to the story.
If you’ve already done that, consider teaming up with another writer and ‘beta reading’ each other’s work. See last week’s post on Writing Buddies for details.
PS: for you procrastinators, THERE IS STILL TIME! Get going! I am cheering you on!