Saturday, April 2, 2011

Do I Need Junk?

In my small town today is the annual "world's largest garage sale", an event where people all over town drag out all the junk they have collected over the past year and try to sell it.   In the first few years there were some awesome finds because people were cleaning out the attics and basements from decades of hoarding.  Now, however, a lot of it is just junk.

Once I moved to my current suburban (or what passes for suburbs in a small town) neighborhood a few years ago, I had a few sales myself.   I'm not this year because I don't have much left to sell.   Last summer I donated a lot of our outgrown stuff to a local ministry that has rummage sales every month so I think I have enough junk for now.

I may stop at a few of the sales to see if they have books, though.   I'm a book addict, books in every format and I'm a firm believer that you can never be too rich, too thin, or have too many books.

Thinking about junk though and how I've tried to purge a lot of it from my life turns my mind toward editing.  Getting rid of the junk is really part of what we do when we self-edit.   I've learned a lot from working with professional editors on my novels and short stories.  As I write now, I find myself thinking about whether something in the story is necessary or if it's just junk.   If it is, I pitch it now rather than later.

There are many books out there on how to edit but the most basic rule of thumb I think there can be is to ask the question "Do I need this junk in the story or not?"  

It's a life question too.

Wow.  I feel very zen this morning, ringed by rummage sales and about to head out the door because my son just HAS to go to Wal-Mart (another place offering too much junk, IMHO).  If I have to go there, I would rather go early.

I woke up this morning with a scene in my head so I got up and wrote out more than a thousand words to get it while I remembered it.    When I get home I will see if it's junk or a keeper....then write more.

Happy Saturday!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Yes, editing is a lot like filtering through the junk.


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