I am reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing. In it he says, “When you write you tell yourself a story. When you rewrite you take out everything that is not the story.” That quote has produced varied thoughts for me.
Getting my ‘book’ completed was definitely something I did for me, even if part of my motivation was my grandchildren. While the process involved much thinking and rethinking about the rationale of the book and the back story, it felt cathartic to be done. And when I was finished it felt like I had produced my own personal miracle. Much like the first time I held one of my babies.
Editing is helping my child grow up to live in the real world. So I have incorporated the concerns of the people who vetted the story for me. At the same time it can feel like I am cutting off limbs when I edit. (Surely my readers need this detail to really understand…) Yet ultimately if The Call is to be a real book rather than just my book, the writing is not for me but for the readers.
Figuring out what is just private exploration of thought and what are the critical ingredients requires a real focus on the necessary versus the elaboration. It is a little like buying a Victorian house. Do you focus on the well-crafted design or the elaborate decoration lacing the roof? That froofrafra, as my mother called it, loved by some is despised by others who fancy function over style. The “where’s the beef” people are not fond of ornamentation. The house is the thing. Bring on the meat.
Like Lis, my heroine, I am not that person. I fully appreciate the main course. But my tastes as a reader do include the extras (and the appendices), the icing on the cake. At the same time I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea, and I want The Call to be accessible to others with tastes different from mine. Not as easy to do as to say. It is a fine surgery to ‘take out everything that is not the story.” Where does the cake end and the frosting begin? Where are there fillers of frosting that can only be removed by destroying the cake?
So my friends The Call is not and never will be just a juicy filet. It can’t be. But I am shooting for a solid meal (good Polish food) that includes some spicy gingerbread (loved by Poles) with a small sprinkle of confectionary sugar. More my style. Editing continues. Cake anyone?