An Axe Is A Handy Tool


Revisions. The process represents an opportunity to improve one’s writing. Before hand, the price of such an endeavor seems high. When a writer turns pseudo-surgeon, he or she runs the risk of hacking off the wrong limb, resulting in profuse bleeding and gaping wounds in the remaining manuscript.

Deciding what to cut can be difficult. In fact, it can be painful. On the flip side, releasing the once highly regarded word-smithing to the trash bin is like lancing a boil. All that released pressure results in smoothed prose, a better-paced plot, and a reduction in backstory.

Let me cut to the chase. I’ve been struggling with my own revisions. It’s a common thing, I know. I get to the point where I finally complete the manuscript and I think, “Awesome! Task done! Time to celebrate!” Then I remember: nothing is ever d-o-n-e, done. “Finishing” means I get to start over…again. Just call me Sisyphus; instead of rolling a giant stone up a hill, I’m doomed to review every letter and word of my manuscript over and over for all eternity. (Confession alert: That’s not necessarily a bad thing.)

Can I just say: “Thank God for Beta readers!” They make me stare directly at my blind spots. They encourage me to face my fears of, “This really does need to be cut,” and “That paragraph, though pretty, does nothing to advance the plot…at all.”  Without that realization, I’d be stuck in the sludge of delusion-land. I would never advance as a “writer.” Stagnation is never a good thing.

So, I want to say thank you to everyone who has pushed me to redo something, to use the delete button relentlessly, to cut out that entire chapter. It hurt, but it felt a lot better at the end.

My new mantra: An Axe Is A Handy Tool

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3 comments on “An Axe Is A Handy Tool

  1. LOL! Very true. If I find my axe (I loaned it out and may never see it again 😉 I plan to set it on my desk as a reminder.

  2. Brenda Drake says:

    LOL! I wish I was an axe murder of my words . . . some of them need to die!

  3. LBDiamond says:

    It can be cleansing to cut the excess sentences, paragraphs, and–dare I say it?–pages. It’s kind of like dead-heading flowers, they’ll blossom even more if you weed out the dying ones.

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