I’ve had this conversation with a number of authors. They tell me that they spent the entire morning writing a thousand … maybe two thousand words and come away well satisfied with the work. Then, perhaps later that day, or the next, they read it over again, discover it was junk and delete the entire portion. I always have to wince when I hear that.
Okay, maybe it didn’t move the story along. Perhaps ultimately it had no bearing or importance to the overall plot. But to delete thousands of words? For myself, I’d find that difficult, if not impossible. I’m one of those people who cringe at the very thought of erasing hours of work. I’m also one of those people who re-read what I’d worked on before, add and edit as I go and then continue the story.
Does that help keep me on track as far as the story goes? Maybe. It seems to work for me. I rarely find myself reading over something I’d written, decide its totally stinks and therefore must be destroyed. If something doesn’t sound quite right, I rework it until it does. If all else fails, I’ll cut that portion, but still keep it on the off chance that I might be able to use it further on in the story, or in a different story altogether.
I’ve probably said it before, but I’m a very visual person. I try to see the story in my mind and work it out before I begin. That’s probably what keeps me on track.
At least, I hope it does.
As a reader or a writer … do you find yourself reading a book, find a portion that jars you out of the story and wonder what on earth that author was thinking to keep it in? I know I have.