If I thought it would work, I would bang my head against the wall each time I sat at the computer. Perhaps in doing so, I could jar my real knowledge of how to write into place, and scare off the Writing Gnome.
You see, I love to revise. Coincidentally, of course, that’s the stage at which I find myself now. I do enjoy it. The story comes back to life as I refine it, hone it, smooth it, shine it. As a bonus, I find line editing a snap. I am a Grammar Nerd from way back. No problem there.
But who really wrote these pages I am revising?
There, did you see it? The But. I have buts all over the page, every other chapter, throughout the story. They come and go in waves. The character thinks one thing. But, he considers, it may be something else entirely. He starts to head upstairs. But he turns. But but but. That’s one thing I don’t need, those awful buts. Still, there they are.
I also am guilty, it seems, of the infamous giving and being. How did they get in there? My character can't simply look at a woman, no. He *gives* her a look. What's with that? Ha! Outtathere. Edit, edit, edit. Or this gem: He was angry. Wow. The intensity of those three words; can't you feel it? Of course not. Okay, so maybe it needs details: a furrowed brow, a kick against the baseboard, a grunt bursting forth. I know to show, not tell. Really!
What’s with me? I know how to write. I know the rules; I’ve heard authors talk about pitfalls and nodded, promising to stop falling into those pits, too. I know better. Who wrote these passages I come across? Thus, I believe there is a Writing Gnome who delights in taking out the gorgeous phrasing I must have used to start and replaces it all with this predictable drivel. Have you met this beast in your own efforts? If so, how did you expel it, exorcise it?
I suspect part of the answer is in the doing. The more I revise, the more I write, the more I think, the more I envision, I can feel the power rising up to beat back the Gnome. More experienced writers may know whether it is possible to banish it for good, or whether it is something to guard against on a constant basis. Suggestions and guidance welcome!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007