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To stick with the recent Editing theme, I was weeding today. I know that the writer in you can immediately see the connection. Weeding = Editing in that you are trying to get out the bad stuff. But while I was weeding I thought of it in another way. Cause I don’t really see weeds as such a bad thing. They aren’t inherently bad (in fact, some of them are yummy – ever had dandelion greens?). But they are not supposed to be there, and there is nothing that gives me more pleasure than pulling a weed out by the roots.
Which got me to thinking about my WIP, and these little weeds that my Critters have found in it. I didn’t see them as weeds until they were pointed out as such – just like dandelions are flowers until you are told they are evil weedy flowers that need to be eaten in a yummy mixture of braised greens and your favorite type of bean (Garbanzos or Cannellini if you are me). And if all you do is rip off the leaves they will come back right away. Ripping off the surface problem doesn’t get rid of the weed. So I had to dig deeper.
I found those little white roots that travel just under the surface of the soil and connect a bunch of different weeds. And I started pulling. And I ripped out bunches and bunches of weeds, and I followed them from the front to the back yard, and ripped them out until they reached the neighbor’s fence. And while the neighbor’s fence has nothing to do with writing, the roots do. Because the problems with my novel are not surface-deep either. They are inter-connected roots that run through the whole story and screw everything up. Once I’ve found one and started pulling on it, and if I’m gentle enough (edits require a gentle touch, I have learned, not a heavy-handed one) the whole thing will come right up without breaking. And yes, the ground around it will be a little messy. And it might have gone right through a bunch of flowers that I want to keep. It’s going to take some work to get everything back in place.
But it will be worth it. So worth it. Because the root of the story will be stronger without all these little weedy-roots getting in the way and distracting everyone with their deliciousness (and some of these storylines were delicious!). Maybe some of those flowers that we had to pull out won’t be going back into the ground, but we can plant new ones. And, hey, do you see that? Buried under all those giant weeds is a tiny crocus popping up out of nowhere. Much prettier than a dandelion. Let’s clear away some of this debris and give it some water and watch it grow into a beautiful, deep-rooted storyline of its own.
And now that we are done cleaning the yard it’s time to get back to revising the WIP. I’ve pulled out quite a few weeds and now its time to plant some new flowers and get that crocus growing the way it should be. Because I’ve got one week to edit thirteen chapters, and that’s going to take some major re-planting.
And just because I’m excited to start planting real flowers outside: what is your favorite flower? Mine is wisteria, but I wouldn’t threaten the livelihood of my trees with that beautiful weed.