Tuesday, November 01, 2005

So, I've been busy

Been distracted by a short story I have to write as a uni assignment.
The writing process is always full of intrigue. I have eight current versions of this story. But, the number of times I have written this one is more than that. Probably more like twelve at this point. I make daily revisions. The most interesting part of this revision process is that each of the last eight versions have been to take words out or to rearrange the words so that the introduction is shorter.

My professor has insisted that we 'kill our darlings' and I must admit that is the hardest part. There are so many special little items that I have had to remove, not because they are not important, but just because they are 'too much'. They slow the action and after all, keeping the reader involved is one of the requirements of a piece of literature.

If the reader quits in boredom with 'my darlings' my writing is purposeless in terms of communicating.

As a matter of fact, that is the most important thing I have learned about writing in the past year. Writing is not about me; it is about my reader. Communication is the issue and that means taking into consideration who my reader is and how long he/she will engage with me in the process.

I should have known this...I guess I just forgot about it in terms of the written language. I remember the first time I was acutely aware of this 'engagement' in terms of spoken language. I was sixteen and a junior in high school. A school mate asked me causually, 'how are you?" while we were waiting for our mothers to pick us up after school one spring afternoon.

Wouldn't you know, being the self centered dreebe that I am/was, I began to go through the whole entire litany of just how I was. Needless to say, (and that means I ought to stop here) she turned away and walked to another spot from which to wait for her ride.

Embarrassed? you bet I was. Enough so that I still remember the spot and the girl. I can't drag up her name, but I know she played the other base drum in the Girls Drum and Bugle Corps that we marched in while in high school.

And so, dear reader, if you are still with me...please don't walk away..but do take a moment to let me know what you think..I'm listening!