May 16, 2006

Pruning

I suffer from verbosity. Here’s an ironic example, an actual line from Confessions:

She tried to prune her words to a bare minimum–the sooner he tired of her dull company, the sooner she could escape the disturbing intensity of his eyes.

Hello!?! “She tried to prune her words to a bare minimum,” needs serious trimming. Why not just say, “she pruned her words.” Ah, the simplicity.

I have so many ticks. I love to write things like, “she felt his hands begin stroking her thighs,” instead of “his hands stroked her thighs,” and then there is the dreaded “seemed.”

All the years of self-denial, all the elaborate barriers she had constructed to contain her emotions, suddenly seemed like flimsy paper creations that one strong breeze could blow away forever.

All the “she felt” and “she seemed” and “as if’s” have got to go. Luckily, I have two amazing critique partners with big sharp shears who aren’t afraid to go “snip snip.” (I pictured Martyn Jacques from the Tiger Lillie’s singing those last two words–love him!)

But the hacking and slashing is almost finished and I’m sending it off today or tomorrow. So cross your fingers for me–soon I’ll have feedback on Confessions from industry professionals.


 

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