Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Word Hoarders

As I take down and parcel my household, my manuscript is receiving a similar treatment. I found a giant credibility hole in the first few pages of my manuscript, and I am rewriting (yet again) my entire first chapter. (Not the best remedy for MOVING FORWARD with my manuscript, but there it is.) (Actually, I think my first page had enough because it is now unexplicably in a read-only mode.)

I think that writers are a lot like hoarders. Last week a mover told us of a household he'd moved in which it had taken an hour to inventory the family room, a family room that included two rusted-out refrigerators. And I have to wonder what this person's emotional attachment was to these refrigerators. But aren't we the same with our words? Our words will collect, go to files we may never open again until they are attacked by literary rust...but can we really let them go?

Well, I can't because I know how much time I spent on those words. However, I'd have to say that taking time off from my manuscript (which I did and somehow decided to start writing again in the middle of this crazy move) has made it easier to cut scenes. But not permanently. They still exist, piles of words stacked in my harddrive, cluttering corners and covered in dust.

What about you? Do you hoard words?


  1. I'm definitely a hoarder. Everytime I do an edit I copy all of the chapters even if I don't change a lot I still keep the other versions, maybe once the book is published I'll delete the drafts.

  2. I'm the same as Patti. When I go through with edits, I always save the old versions. Why? No clue. Have I ever gone back and used words I'd cut and set aside? Nope. Still, it makes me feel better than to just garbage disposal them.

    (P.S. All your talk of moving is triggering post traumatic stress flashbacks of my own moves. *shudder*)

  3. I'm pretty good at letting go when I decide to make a change. I keep copies off and and on, but I don't save every single draft. :-)

  4. Although I have a hard time letting go of some of the parts in my MS that I know need the edit, I eventually succumb and hit the delete key. My way of dealing with the traume (and yes, it's trauma!) is to not save each and every file I edit. Some may say, not very smart, but if I go back, I'll be too tempted to put it back in! LOL

  5. Nope. I used to but stopped when I realized that scenes/words cut were never used again. The way I look at it now is that the words are in me and if I need them after cutting them, I'll be able to find them again. :-)

  6. I'm pretty ruthless with my words. I will murder them so they need to watch out. I don't even blink anymore just highlight and delete entire chapters. It's very freeing. :)

  7. I hoard them but I cut them too. I just keep the files for who knows when.

  8. Hey there.
    Glad my comment made your day.
    It was a pretty awesome paragraph. Is that the first paragraph from your book, Pieces of Moon?

  9. The ones I hoard, I rarely use but the ones I go ahead and hit delete on... I want back.

  10. As much as I love words, I don't think I'm a word hoarder. Although I have a few pages on my desktop with sparkly phrases I'd like to use somewhere.

    I do love your invention of "Word Hoarder," though!

  11. This is SO lazy of me but CONGRATS on being an honorable mention in Nathan Bransford's paragraph contest!!! Nice!

  12. Jessie-
    Yes, congrats on the hon mention. Actually, I liked your first graph better than the finalists' - all of which I found kinda boring, actually. I really wouldn't read on in any of those, which made me think it was really all about who happened to be the one judging ... so I figure that means you really have to send your stuff to someone who's interested in the kind of stuff, or style, of your stories. (OK, so I've learned that new thing for today and can stop learning now!)
    Anyway, glad to see another KS writer doing well!
    Oh yeah, was this supposed to be about hoarding words? I dunno-- does that have something to do with all the scripts and manuscripts and files of short stories in my closets? But I'm thinking that's really what all this "cloud" storage is for, right? To put those store all those stories and story fragments.
    Good luck.