Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Read All About it at Readerville

My story is live now on the Readerville front page. You can click here to see it.

I can tell that this was an interesting editing exercise for Karen Templer, the wonderful woman who runs the site. It was an interesting exercise in editing for me when I wrote it. I could tell it was going long before I was very far into the story, and I had to stop and ask myself how I was going to deal with that. Usually the answer to a piece meandering into the 2500+ word territory is to cut mercilessly. Occasionally, though, the thing to do is to let it happen, making sure you take the time to treat each element of the story before moving on to another part of the narrative.

I chose the latter approach for this essay. I’m not saying it was the right decision; I’m just saying it was what I chose. As a consequence, the story did turn out longer than Karen wanted (i.e. longer than normal people will give an online story). So she cut some parts out. I don’t blame her. Something had to go, and you probably won’t even notice. (I once left all the sugar out of a dessert recipe by mistake and nobody noticed. It’s amazing what you can do without when you have to.) I’m just saying, if you are left wondering how I got full from a dinner I never mentioned eating, or what exactly I overheard Sarah say, the answers were once there.

Of course, you probably you never would have asked. It can be hard when you write something to tell what’s important and what isn’t. That’s what editors are for.


Don Clausing said...

Nicole, I really liked this story, but I'm glad you waited until now to tell me about the train. And you were right, I didn't miss the sub story about the meal at all, in fact, while it has its own interest, I think it detracts rather than adds to the point of the story. It's always hard, as a writer, to see how taking words out can make something better, but better is still better, words are just words.

Nicole said...

I figured the statute of limitations had expired on the train-track hiking.

Thanks for the feedback. Every time that I can think of that I've been forced to trim a piece, it has been stronger for it. I'm glad to see that this was no exception.