Some things just go together.
In the movie, Forrest Gump, the lovable, simple Forrest illustrates his relationship with childhood friend and true love by saying, “Me and Jenny was like peas and carrots.”
He’s telling the world that they’re a good match, a balanced two-some, and that their differences complement each other. (My picky-eater son, however, might interpret “peas and carrots” somewhat differently — as in they went together like vomit and more vomit — but for our purposes let’s say this is an appealing veggie-pairing.)
I think the process of writing and revising should also be a copacetic peas-and-carrots coupling. Maybe this belief stems from the freelancer in me who’s used to pitching a 1600 word article, only to hear that it would be great if it were 800 words, or told from another angle, or patched together in unrecognizable shreds.
You give words, and you take them away.
When writing fiction, I’m typically a revise-as-I-go girl. I’m also usually ruthless when it comes to cutting and clipping passages and pages that aren’t working. And, normally, I’m gleeful (in a half-crazed way) during the process — almost Mommie Dearest-like as I stroll through my work — not hesitating to pluck the “roses” and other bits that may be beautiful but are unnecessary to the story. “Bring me the axe!” is a suitable Revision-Cave mantra.
Now, for those in the audience who hear nails on a chalk board when too many adverbs are in the house, you’ll have noticed some key words in my explanation above. These were: “typically,” “usually,” and “normally.”
Yes, the elements of writing and revising in regard to my current WIP are not spooning in their standard fashion. Revision is off sulking in the corner (You don’t even look at me anymore when I walk into the room!). And writing, is well…,writing, and writing, and writing. The words refuse to be cut, and this book is shaping up to become a 200,000 word Choose-Your-Own-Adventure where nothing ever gets resolved. You’d totally read that, right?
I suppose I’d rather have this problem of too many options, ideas, and directions — of needing to slash words and sub-plots rather than conjure them. But if I’m ever going to finish this book, writing and revising must get back to their symbiotic, yin-ish/yang-ish relationship. Back to being peas and carrots that work the taste buds in harmony.
Because peas without carrots are sometimes hard to swallow.
What is your revising personality? Fearless? Timid? Gladiator-like? Do you also have an unhealthy infatuation with the movie Mommie Dearest? Please share!
Find me on Twitter @amandahoving
*Ahem — photo is actually of Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest