Donna's Blog

But I Like Them

Posted by donnadawson on May 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Bee is awfully fond of her own words. Duke and I were watching her clack away at the keyboard when he made this grand pronouncement.

 

"What do you mean by that?" I was pretty sure I knew but thought I'd better be sure before responding.

 

She won't let go of anything in her writing. She thinks that every single word is irreplaceable. Whole sentences need changing and she just can't bear to do that. And she keeps saying things like 'But I like them'.

 

I know exactly what Dukie is barking about. There are far too many writers out there who are convinced that their words are directly from God--mistakes and all--and won't even consider having them massaged. It all goes back to that edit again. God is not a God of mistakes so I'm pretty sure that if the manuscript has mistakes in it those mistakes aren't there because of Him. No. Often it is because we writers are too afraid to have them removed. We somehow think that if our writing has flaws, we must have flaws as well. Ah...duh! Of course we do. It's called the human--or, in Duke and Bee's cases, canine--condition. We are fallible which means our work inevitably will be fallible. It's why the Bible is so remarkable. The fact that God used so many fallible people to write a text that shows no signs of fallibility is truly miraculous. But I'm not one of those people and Duke recognizes he isn't one of those dogs--not that he would imply that dogs had the privilege of partaking in the writing of scripture.

 

I can guarantee that Bee's writing isn't 'complete divine inspiration from above' unless 'above' means the squirrel chattering from the tree branches above her dog house. I'm pretty sure there's no divinity to be found there. So what makes a writer cling to their words--aside from the fear of being flawed? Pride. Stubbornness. Sometimes an unconscious desire to sabotage our work. There are many reasons but the bottom line remains the same: If we truly want to write professionally and effectively, we need to--as Duke puts it--get over ourselves, listen to those who are trying to help us along in the literary journey and make those corrections.

 

"So Duke...do you want to talk to Bee or shall I?"

 

I have just received the most incredulous look which I can only translate as: Are you kidding? I have no desire to be a chew toy.

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2 Comments

Reply Diane Stephenson
8:01 PM on May 1, 2012 
I love your Duke and Bee posts, Donna . Great topic, too. I suppose idea of getting rid of some of those 'favourite' words and sentences is, in our minds, a little like fighting the prospect of having a toe or two amputated . But if the toes are gangrenous, they had better be amputated or the whole body will suffer and die. Refusing to remove those sections of a manuscript will likely kill the whole book. I don't think Bee would like that prospect. If that happened, we would never get to see what her genius is capable of!
Reply Peter Black
2:23 PM on June 18, 2012 
An important message for writers -- and even for anyone.
Diane's illustration of gangrenous toes is very apt.
Every blessing, with continued fruitful success to you, in all your endeavors.