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Oct 28, 2009
Today the podiatrist took an x-ray of my gimpy foot and discovered that I have an extra bone. Running along the outer tarsal bone is a wimpy, little, tarsal-bone-wanna-be. I was born with it, but for 47 years it lay dormant, waiting to pounce at just the right moment. That moment came last June.

I like to give Mother Nature a good shake at healing without interference, but after 4 months, it was time to get this pain checked out. It seems the tarsal-bone-wanna-be is now irritating a rather major nerve in my foot. (In point of fact, it's irritating the rest of me as well!) Dr. Z. gave me a shot of cortisone and the, "We'll see you in two weeks," pep talk. Then he sent me lumbering back to work on a numb foot. Aside from my Frankenstein-ish gate, I was feeling pretty good. However, if the cortisone doesn't do the trick, that bone is going to have to come out.

The writing process can be equated with this whole situation. A writer struggles to get his/her story down in whatever format; scribbling or typing in a mad rush to get all their thoughts down in black and white. Then comes the editing. Reading back through the pages and pages (or screens and screens) the writer finds all sorts of "extra bones."

These may not be bad bits of writing. They may, in fact, be very good bits of writing. For whatever reason, in the context of the story, they are only wanna-be bits contributing nothing vital to the actual story itself. The more the writer reads over these "extra bones" the more they begin to irritate. They don't fit. They aren't needed. They may slow down the pace or muddy up the story. What's a writer to do?

Before doing major surgery to remove these "extra bones" the writer should see if a little shot of "literary cortisone" can salvage them into workable scenes. Only, of course, if they are worthy to be salvaged. If they are not or if they cannot be, if they add no intrinsic value to the whole or part of the story, if they become a Frankenstein in your Amish romance... "Scalpel please!"

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great analogy! And love the 'Frankenstein in an Amish Romance' visual! - Michelle G