Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writing Scraps by Steve Vera

Status: Sparky

What's playing on itunes? ONE BOURBON, ONE SCOTCH, ONE BEER by George Thorogood and the Destroyers

Sometimes you have to kill your children.

Not literally you bunch of sickos, in writing. I used to agree with this, too, after all, somebody way wiser than me said it (lil' guy by the name of Stephen King), but then something dawned on me.

I don't like killing my children.

If you're a writer, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about, if not, follow along anyway, it could save your life. Or something. Sometimes you will write something utterly fantastic, something exquisite with perfect cadence, mood, and with the most vivid of detail--something all around kick-ass--but it's useless.

It doesn't propel your story.

You want it to, it should, but the more you read it, the more you clench your fists and curse the injustice of it. This my friends, hurts. Hurts so much in fact that you're tempted to just leave it in there, just because it's so pretty, but you know, deep down, the difference between a good writer and a great writer is having the courage and strength...to kill your own children.

The poor little critters...Stephen King, you're a monster. After an ugly season of heeding this advice and bludgeoning my own offspring, I had an epiphany. I asked myself, isn't there some way I could just put them to sleep, hibernation-style, and summon them when needed...even if it's a novel I won't write for another fourteen years?

Por Supuesto! I created a file in Word simply called 'writing scraps' and lay all my children on nice little soft quilted pillows of rainbows and scratch'n sniff stickers to await summoning. See Stevie? Brilliant! (hand me a Guinness please)

In fact, I recently had to come up with 12 000 words I wasn't planning on (not always an easy feat) but instead of sweating I took a stroll through 83 pages of bits of dialogue, names, characters and snippets of brilliance and just like that (smack of a walrus head) I was three quarters done...THAT was cool. Even cooler is when you've completely forgotten about something you've written and it's like, 'wow, I forgot how much that kicked ass, why did I take that out again?' (titter)

I don't consider myself a dispenser of writing wisdom, but if I were...I think this would be my first bit of advice: Don't kill your children. Writing Scrap'em...and let them await resurrection.

Steve out.