So, since the decision to make the big move, I’ve been rampaging through my closets and tossing anything that doesn’t make the “Do I really want to pack this?” cut.
This has resulted in six trips so far donating bags and boxes of still usable stuff to St. Vincent, and many more bags and boxes donated to the curb. Furniture has been sold. The Lone Bandana is now the proud owner of The Doobie Couch which has served us well as a guest bed down in the rec room (sorry Lady Dee). And I haven’t even begun to work on the storage half of the basement yet, but I predict more will be tossed than kept of what currently hides there.
Don’t hate and lecture me about landfills. I’m sorry, environment, I’m very sorry. I’m doing my best to find homes for the big stuff, however, no one has use for seven little Luxor pyramid soaps any more than I need expired cough drops that have become one with the paper that wraps them. Garbage, be gone!
The rest of the usual weekly cleaning in my house has gone to hell, so I do not recommend that visitors utilize my powder room, but my closets are FABULOUS!
Betsy, what has this got to do with writing? We don’t care about your skid-marked toilets.
That’s because you don’t have to use them, Scooter. But I digress.
Cleaning out closets and tossing the stuff that was so precious before and useless now is like editing. Serious, scalpel and red-penned editing that guts your scenes to the lean and empowers their impact on your plot.
The superfluous crap that dilutes your story and clogs your pace and instead fills it with stupid little novelty soaps you thought were so damn cute you had to steal half a dozen of them from Vegas five years ago falls under the category of:
Stuff. You. Don’t. Need.
Who uses pyramid shaped soap? With oatmeal in it? I don’t need to be scrubbing pointy, scratchy things around my sensitive patookie parts, do you?
And if that is something you truly enjoy, get the fuck out. You’re reading the wrong blog, sicko.
Cleaning closets with the single goal of only keeping the “necessary good stuff” is the same as editing, but only if you can be ruthless and maintain tunnel vision on the point of each scene – the Goal/Conflict/Disaster format that keeps it tight and focused. The ability to easily and without regret hit delete delete delete on every pyramid-shaped soap passage you find.
You get the metaphor I’m going for here, right? Pyramid soap = the historical tidbit you just HAD to include because your hours of research shouldn’t go to waste, the paragraph after paragraph of scene description full of minutiae and details that have zero to do with your plot, the ‘yeah, uhhuh, you don’t say’ dialogue that goes nowhere. You get what I’m saying?
Stupid stuff that is basically quantity over quality. The fluffy bits that have nothing to do with the goal of your scene, your character, your plot.
Kick it to the curb. Plummet it into the landfill of your computer’s recycle bin. Get rid of it.
Because in writing, as in life, only the good and necessary need remain. The stuff that moves you, and the stuff you’re willing to move.