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One Step Up, and Two Steps Back

That's just how the writing goes sometimes.

And by sometimes, I mean mostly all the time for me.

I have been allowing health issues to derail me for quite a while, but have finally decided that if I'm a writer, I should be writing. And Adelaide was calling me, so I've returned to her story, telling her life for a young audience.

Mostly, it involves me sifting and picking out the essentials to share. And then I write too much about them. And often, in a too complicated way. And then I have to go back and pare and whittle and reassess.

Also, as any reader of The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupéry knows, "what is essential is invisible to the eye", which means I often end up going back and removing something like an actual life event and adding in one of her poems, or a quote from a letter, or some other humanizing detail.

Because a parade of simple facts is not a book - or at least, it's not a good biography. Maybe that's a topic for a different day.

Today I wrote nearly 200 words. Three paragraphs. Then I focused on that first paragraph, which was a good 95 words or so, and struggled through what was and wasn't important. I took out lots of facts. I added in a bit of a quote from a letter. It's now 44 words. I won't know until tomorrow or later whether they will stay. For sure the remaining 74 words have to be scaled back. Or maybe be entirely replaced. Again, it's a choice for another day.

One step up and two steps back.

And yes, today's title comes from a Springsteen song: "Somewhere along the line I slipped off track. I'm caught movin' one step up and two steps back." The back-up singer eventually changes it to "two steps up and one step back", and that's my goal. Meantime, this is me. Writing, then undoing, then rewriting, then paring, then inching slowly forward.

One step up and two steps back.
Two steps up and one step back.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
TS Davis
Sep. 20th, 2016 06:33 pm (UTC)
The essential IS invisible - and sometimes revising means making some details melt into elsewhere in the manuscript. Such hard work - but glad you're up to it!
Sep. 22nd, 2016 04:30 pm (UTC)
Of course, the issue is that this is a picture book biography, which means that there isn't much of "elsewhere in the manuscript" to put anything. But that is still okay.

In today's post, you'll see that I just wiped out almost everything I've done in the past few days in favor of something else. "What is essential?" is a good way of making choices for this project, as it turns out.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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