Thursday, April 28, 2011

Y is for ... Yard Work

When I bought my house 13 years ago, one of the things I loved the most about it was the tidy little garden. Little did I know how much work that 'little' garden was going to be. There's lawn mowing -front and back yards - weeding, pruning, replanting, pulling out of dead plants and many more boring, difficult tasks. I don't enjoy yard work in any way, so now my tidy little garden is a weed-choked, overgrown mess. I know I have to do something about it, but I can't even think where to begin.

Finishing an manuscript is kind of like looking out my kitchen window at the tangled jungle that is my back yard. I wish I'd known that when I finished my first books and sent them out into the world in all their weed-choked glory. Now I know that finishing the book is only step one and there's a lot of yard work ahead to get it looking tidy.

There are adverbs to weed out, sentences to trim - or even whole chapters. There's punctuation to scatter like seeds, words to excise. Whole sections of the book may be dug out and re-planted elsewhere, or thrown onto the compost heap and left to rot. And just like work in the garden, this doesn't just happen once. No, the yard work goes on for a long, long time.

Only after many, many rounds of clipping, trimming, ordering and weeding will the manuscript be ready to be sent out into the world (or the yard be enjoyed). And even then, I'm sure every time you read even a few pages of your MS, you'll find something you'd like to change.

How do you approach the less glamorous parts of writing?

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