Monday, November 11, 2013

Eliminate The Unsalvageable

I am a real salvager when it comes to editing. I keep as much of a person's words and ideas as I can while editing. I think it comes from not wanting to alienate others or cram my words down their throat. It is also partly because I usually edit for people that have an idea of what they want their story to be like and don't want it to stray to far from that.  

I happen to be a great salvager, but that can be its own downfall. Sometimes, while editing a document, I will realize that what I want to add or change doesn't work. I'll spend minutes looking and toying and changing and rechanging sentences, both in order and construction, and I will grudgingly accept that the sentences can't be salvaged. 

At that point, I have to accept that and start to build a whole new sentence to make the passage work right. But the real lesson here is that it's not easy to let go. Even when it's not your writing, it can feel strange cutting away others' words. But if a passage is best served by not salvaging what's there, then eliminate that which is unsalvageable for the sake of making the best product. 

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