Saturday, October 27, 2007

Today's Sapience? Don't Obnubilate and Repair the Woof and Warp of Your Writing

Sapience? More on that later.
If there's one thing most writers dread, its the edit/re-write/correction part of the deal. I'm lucky, I guess, because I have always enjoyed the process of going over what I've written and making changes. Sailors, too, must pay great attention to detail. Last week we were putting the sails on VATNA and there, lurking amongst the folds of the old main sail, was a neat slice, about five inches long. It looked like someone had taken a sharp knife to it. So, out comes the sewing kit and I spend the next hour patching it up. A sailor can't sail with holes in his sails--they'll likely rip open and destroy the sail and leave you in trouble out there on the big, blue ocean at the worst possible moment. Best to fix things while your in a safe harbor.

Same with writing. We need to view mistakes in our writing as rips and tears in the fabric of our manuscripts. Your teacher, your publisher, your readers, will rip it to pieces like a strong wind if you don't pay attention to detail and patch things up. The other picture is of me, now down below on VATNA, sitting at the table in the salon, working on the final edit of A Drop of Wizard's Blood, Book III in The Eye of the Stallion trilogy. It's slow going, very slow going, because my "teacher" (editor), has made a lot of suggestions for changes. Every page is filled with comments, deletions, and here and there, a nice complement: "This next paragraph is Arvidson as his best," or in the case of my use of the word, obnubilation, she wrote, "Wonderful. Applause." I liked that. Made my whole day.

So, as one famous writer said, and I've forgotten who, "There is no such thing as writing, just re-writing." Or as another writer put it, "Make a mess, and then clean it up."
That is sapience for a writer of the first order. Sapience--it's my word for the day and it's an good one, I think. My editor said she loved that fact that I'm giving my readers my full vocabulary and that it's a credit to them. Meaning, I guess, that we shouldn't underestimate our readers' sophistication. Of course, to be honest, I found the word in the same place I found tarradiddle, in my Visual Thesaurus.

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