Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Collector of Words (or a Hoarder of Paragraphs?)

Tip of the Day: For a great YA read on a teen with a mother who hoards, check out DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS by C. J. Omololu. I couldn't put this book down!

I recently attended a workshop by a woman who is a professional declutterer. People call her and she helps them organize their homes/offices, and decide what to keep and what to toss from their living spaces.

As I get ready to move to my new house, one thing that she said about how to decide what to keep and what to toss particularly struck me. She said if you come across an item that you kept because a) Great Grandma Bernice gave it to you, b) it's from elementary school and is cool bc it's really old, c) it might be worth something some day, or d) insert some other random reason here, ONLY hold onto it longer IF YOU HAVE A POSITIVE MEMORY/STORY ASSOCIATED WITH IT.

Sure, you might love the memory of Great Grandma Bernice, but if the item in your hand doesn't help to conjur up or enhance those memories, if there's no story to share about the item and GGB, then let the item go.

If, however, the item is directly related to the time GGB visited with her new puppy that peed on the living room couch and had the family in hysterics and that story is one to be told over and over again, keep it.

How is this related to writing? I'm getting there, I swear.

As I revise my latest WIP, after seeing some of my words as part of the story for so long, it's hard to think of parting with them. How dare my CPs suggest that I mention food too much in my book that has nothing to do with food and that I cut some of the references! These words BELONG with the book! They ARE the book!

Wait -- maybe they aren't.... Do the food references enhance characters/plot elements/symbols in the book? Do the food references remind the characters of specific stories that are relevent to the plot/characterizations in the book? Or do they just clutter up the pages? Hmmm....

Are you a page pruner or a stubborn clutter bug? :)

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing


Alissa said...

I love these tips both for writing and real life. I also loved Dirty Little Secrets, which made me want to go on a spring cleaning binge.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I really need to read Dirty Little Secrets. It sounds like a fascinating read!

As for my writing, Yeah, I have a hard time letting words go once I get them on the page.

Kate Fall said...

Oh, me too. I need to see what's going on in a scene. But maybe, just possibly, I will admit that I see a little bit more than the reader needs to see.

DeenaML said...

Alissa -- I've been telling everyone to read DLS. Glad I'm not the only one who it inspired!

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