Reposted: Trimming Out the Story

Take a look at this thought-provoking article, readers:

Trimming Out the Story

I don’t mean cutting bits. I mean adding them. The little finishing touches that really tie everything together. Today we begin the final stage of the home improvement, and will be installing wainscoting and trim. The walls are painted, the carpeting is 90% gone, the gorgeous oak floors are showing for the first time in, likely, decades. It’s still a mess, and it still looks sloppy at the paint lines. Given my house became my son’s school project? I’m expecting imperfection. But when the finish is done, those will fade into the background of fresh clean paint and white trim lines and it will all be beautiful.

It’s the same for a story. Once you have your rough draft, you’ll read back through it and see all the flaws. The timeline that just isn’t true throughout the plot. The character whose hairline slipped… ok, maybe not that. But still, you follow my metaphor. It’s time to take the story and trim it out. For me, who flies through the plot by the seat of my pants as I’m writing it, feeling the fundamental shifts of pace and character only when the words hit the page, I find that I have to give it some time before I can read back through with enough distance to start seeing where the trim needs to be nailed up to hide the rough edges.

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