Jack Heffron in The Writer’s Idea Book, suggests a way to revise by cutting out five details in a chapter or short story. Details could be objects, colors, dialogue, etc. Then add five different details. How has it changed? Are the new details, the right ones? How do details shape a story?
Thomas Wolfe debated with F. Scott Fitzgerald in an exchange of letters. Fitzgerald claimed that “highly selective writers were the real geniuses. Wolfe wrote:
‘You say that the great writer like Flaubert has consciously left out the stuff that Bill or Joe will come along presently and put in. Well, don’t forget, Scott, that a great writer is not only a leaver-outer but also a putter-inner, and that Shakespeare and Cervantes and Dostoevsky were great putter-inners, in fact, than taker-outers….’ ”
Are you a taker-outer or a putter-inner?
Outside at a friend’s party in Pleasanton to see tonight’s sunset.
On the patio after the stunning view. I’m thinking of the changes I need to make on one page in my novel before tomorrow morning. It’s the last day of Jessica Barksdale’s writing retreat. Each participant will read a revision of a page that needs clarification. My assignment is where I wrote that Jill’s sister inherited the family home. People wondered why Jill didn’t get half of the inheritance. The real reason is explained several chapters later, but Jessica suggested I at least write how Jill felt about it.
Back to work on it at midnight.
I’m preparing for a garage sale scheduled in two days and I’m revising 10,000 words of my novel due for a contest on the same day. Actually, taking breaks from boxes of stuff to files on the computer made multitasking a good thing.
One more day to get it all done.