Writer’s Log: 2013 Edge

You, the writer, are a razor slicing down through words to the tender page, leaving a gaping wound that is your story.

Your blade can be dull and the cut you produce nothing but a bruise: bloated writing, wandering plot, pointless details, backstory, telling.

Or your blade can be keen yielding a deep slice exposing muscle and bone: a gasp of breath from your readers eager to turn the page, endure the scars.

To get from blunt to sharp takes years. Eventually, one’s mind molds anew. Altered neural pathways of writer’s thought form and one’s blade begins to shine. Upon these mental trails there grows the ability to write purified story — the raw essence of what must be said to covey the theme of a tale. Scales of rust flake away leaving only what must be written, not what can be.

This is the challenge. Whet your stone and stroke your skills. If persistent any writer’s blade can be honed.

~~~

I sense a recent change in my understanding of how to write well. I’m embolden to strike out clever words and turns of phrase, details that I found entertaining when written but realized added nothing. Trust the reader to tease the story from fewer select words. A novel is tens of thousands strung together, unburden readers by giving them only what’s necessary.


13 responses to “Writer’s Log: 2013 Edge

  • Phil Huston

    Wow. And here we have two sides of the coin. One who chooses the Iceberg path must foresake ALL criticism and edit with a slash and burn mentality. What, did I say schizophrenia? Between reader and writer? As you yourself propound, cut it. To the bone. And yet you require/request excess stimulus from the written word. Guns need to go boom. People need to dramatize their reactions. I am asked for sweat and mosquitos and the frogs and the humidity in the swamp, even by you. A hue and cry of Put me there! A true Iceberg says “swamp” and the rest? On the reader. Gunplay – EL, Chandler, Hammett, Parker, MacDonald. Even good pretenders like Ray and others. I scrambled on the floor for the chrome Berreta, hit (bad guy) in the shoulder before the elevator door closed. The Browning was good for the thirty yards, I put 3 in the middle of the mass and he went down. Next. So who do we write for? Them? You? Me? Teachers (forget that)? A forum of “peers?” Ourselves? What is enough? Too much? I love EL, and Tishomingo Blues is a classic. But so is Moby Dick, One is a research document on Civil War reenactment and one is a whaling how-to. Both of which I could have done without. I could have gotten all that Civil War bit in 15k less words, easy. Talk about internal dialog taking you out of the story and painting a damn picture. Bu then maybe we need to spin up pretty pictures with words on occasion. The trick is knowing what and when and most importantly wwhat kind of story do we want to tell? And when to listen and when to bag the input, eh? And tell George to stop being a pussy and taking his wankfest so seriously. None of the rest of do. And to own the bed eating B drive-in screamer. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anony Mole

      Color me inconsistent. Love is a sine wave, beware the peaks, treasure the troughs.
      I love your swamp scenes. It’s the Gilmore Girls’ blather than gums my gears.
      And yeah, some guns, silent since the start, need to go bloody BOOM!
      The heavy pistol’s thunderous noise rattled the ramshackle hut…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Phil Huston

        Yeah, the word I kept hearing yesterday was “details” until I thought I’d puke. In the latest Bobby B you and I both were choking on the extra line of exposition here and there and I was getting comments about how tall was the warehouse, what was in the way of the side walls. Hell, if there are armed arsonist hit men waiting outside the front and back they have the place under scrutiny. Why not the side walls? Come on. You’re stuck in an old rusty galvanized tin warehouse full of old rusty machine shop equipment and misc manufacturing shit and the building is on fire. You want out. Let’s write a set decorator’s checklist we roast. Jim kicked bob, I’m telling you, is out of fashion with “writers” but it’s the only way, Hemingway.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Phil Huston

        The heavy pistol’s thunderous noise rattled the ramshackle hut…
        I love you like a brother but that shit right there is you inserting yourself as a writer. Bang, blood, next. Think of it this way – if it wasn’t gunfire, but say a romance novel, it would be the equivalent of the porn adjectives. A rose by any other name. The thorns on the fucking rosebush drew blood when he tried to take aim through them. They smelled wonderful, though, reminded him of his grandmother’s house just before his big ol’ gun went boom and rattled his teeth like an orgasmic eskimo. Not. ;0

        Liked by 1 person

  • floatinggold

    I agree specifically with the ending. For the longest of times I’ve been told to add as many adjectives as possible. To describe.
    While I understand that some people want to know the color of flowers and the leafs surrounding a character on a murder rampage, but I care more about the weapon, the why and the who

    Liked by 1 person

  • George F.

    Wow man, you got my attention everywhere this evening. Thanks. I might save this one and tape it above my computer as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  • A Gypsy's Tale by Brooke Breazeale

    This might be one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen written about writing- as insightful as it is poetic.

    “You, the writer, are a razor slicing down through words to the tender page, leaving a gaping wound that is your story.”

    I agree with you completely. More often than not, less is in fact, more. I think refining our craft requires a willingness to check our egos and respect our readers. Superfluous words and repetition are a waste of people’s time, really.

    I’ve unintentionally offended friends who’ve asked me to read/provide feedback for something they’ve written. I now warn them in advance that I will most likely “Hemingway it”. 🙂

    That said, sometimes we just have to let the words dance….shimmying all the “shoulds’ off the page so we can work your magic. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • Duke Miller

    You have it…be sparse, be honest, be humorous…nothing much else. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 1 person

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