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Take It From The Top

a notepad and keyboard of a computer. write down and save.

Writing is hard. I love it, and it’s hard.

There’s so much starting over.

In the language of a singer, dancer, or Broadway cast, it’s the words, “Let’s take it from the top.”

Go back a few measures.  Start again at the second verse.

With the written word, ‘a few measures’ can be a couple thousand words.  The second verse might be the fifth chapter that’s now going to be the third and needs to be rewritten with stronger humor.

A writer can’t keep the words just because they’re good.  Stephen King says, “It should be good, if I’m being paid to do it.  What I’m not being paid to do is be self-indulgent.”  So, good falls to the cutting room floor.

I craft and construct, string and strand, reword and rewrite, and then I start all over.

And I remember these nuggets from the greats:

“The story is the boss.”
“That’s what the rewrite is for.”
“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

Woe to the writer who doesn’t love the dance.  I don’t know how such a book is ever born.  But then I guess we all have the same basic process: one more word.

Writing is hard.

I love it, and it’s hard.

Blank notepad over laptop and coffee cup on office wooden table

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. I got a critique this week that kicked me over. Still recovering. Annnnd I’m going to have to dump the first 7 chapters. Again.

    But, this is what we do.

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