Wednesday, March 22, 2006

time and words

In revising any piece of writing one of the things that must be considered is the relative importance of the various concepts you are putting forth. The biggest thing that signals importance is the amount of words that are spent on a subject.

If you devote many words to describing a particular character, the reader knows that character is important and will remember him. If you go on and on about how the protagonist is feeling, the very amount of wordage and time spent says it's an important part of the story. If you take a whole chapter to develop the trip to the coffee shop you have again made that event Important -- even if that was not your intent at all.

Often, especially in a first draft, we go on and on about something that really isn't very important. Hence the need for revision. To go back after the heat of drafting and look at what you've done: How many words did you spend on the various elements of the piece and how well does that correspond to their relative importance?

Life is an awful lot like writing. Only, as was mentioned yesterday, it's not words that determine importance so much as time and thinking, and sometimes we need to do some revising. What do we spend the most time doing, and even more important, what do we spend the most time thinking about, worrying about, and dreaming about? If we step back and really evaluate that, it will tell us a lot about what is really most important in our lives -- whether our intent is that it be so or not.

To be effective one must be selective.

(Thanks Kelli!)

grace & peace,

progress log: worked out an outline for the second half of ch 15; may do some actual writing tonight.