Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writing Lesson: Killing Your Babies

Yes, you’ve done the research. Gathered all the necessary materials. And you think everyone has to know that this story was worked on, that everything has to be included. This is a lesson about letting go. I remember this was what an instructor called “Killing Your Babies” at the DADA Books Writers Workshop in 2010. Remove every unnecessary word…it doesn’t matter how beautiful they look. Ask yourself: what is this word doing here?

We know it is hard to start cancelling out, except on your to-do-list; it is tough to use the Backspace or delete key on your computer…it reminds you of the red marks in your exam sheets. Only that here it is not a sign of failure. It is a sign of maturity. Few people can close their eyes and kill their babies.

How can you? Ascertain what you want to discuss; think about it deeply and write your first draft. Keep it away for a while. Then, return to it. Hopefully by now, all those attachments to the words would be gone. So, begin to cut off. If you still can’t cut off, then let someone whom you trust his/her editing skills do it for you. Or just keep it away longer. The next time you go to it, you would likely be ashamed of it. Ashamed of those babies you once kept.

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