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So I was going to write a whole long post about my last year in writing, but let’s be honest. I don’t really care about New Years (mine starts on Yule anyways), and you don’t really care about last year’s writing thing because you can just go back and read over the past year by yourself. We all know I don’t post regularly enough to make that too much of a bother for you 🙂
So instead we are going to talk about Occam’s Razor, which is this pretty awesome thing that I forget about regularly. Occam’s Razor cuts through the bullshit and says that the simplest answer is almost always the correct answer. Which is hard for an over-thinker to remember. My husband always tells me I make things harder than they have to be because I come up with these strange and large ideas for how things should be. And then he comes along and cuts it all down to the core and suddenly things are easy again. Like last night: I was cleaning the floors. I could have swept everything and then mopped it all at once, but instead I swept and mopped little parts of it at a time. It took me an hour to do something that should have taken half that time. Had hubby been home he would have just told me to stop making things difficult and sweep the whole thing at once and then I would have eaten dinner at a reasonable time.
The same thing happens with my writing all the time. My new critique partner told me that Chapter 5 was dragging, that she didn’t know how it was moving the story along, and gave me a few suggestions. And instead of saying to myself “all right, let’s cut all this BS in this chapter and bring the next chapter in sooner” I said “well what can I do now to make it more interesting and still keep the parts that I love that might be total BS” (these parts, by the way, are from that week of writing fluff). So I’m trying to think up a whole new storyline – kick Kindra out of the warriors. What will she do then? Well of course she would go looking for Kaye. Send Gar with her, yes, that would be great! Someone needs to get hurt. Hurt Gar! Oh wait, I do that at the end of the book. Nevermind, don’t hurt Gar. They should meet another woman warrior! Yes, then Kindra will see that you can be a warrior and still have a happy, normal life. So now why would she go back home if she can stay here and be a woman warrior? How does she get in a fight with Pike if she’s in another village? What the hell just happened to my entire book?
Do you see how exhausting all that is? I was still trying to figure out a way to work that woman warrior angle, and how to get Kindra a flute, and how to work the dead bird in, and the blue sword, and allude to Gar’s past, and get in a fight with Pike…. and I realized that the only important part of that whole thing was the fight with Pike. Which is way in Chapter Seven!
So I took Occam’s Razor to Chapter Five and cut everything except the dead bird. Kindra doesn’t go running after her sister right away because she finds the dead bird Pike left on her doorstep. She goes to find him and they get in a fight. She can’t leave Fie Eoin then because she’s bedridden from losing the fight and by the time she can walk snow has piled up and blocked all exits from the valley. Ding! How easy was that? I lost the fluff and kept the important parts, and I can find a way to allude to Gar’s past later. After all, he’s not going anywhere.
Now I’ve just got to figure out when Gar gives Kindra the flute, and I’ve got a whole lagging mid-story to do that in. And this time I have to keep in mind that the simplest solution is the best. Occam’s Razor. Cut through the bullshit.
So, what scene are you going to hack all to bits now? Murder those darlings!