Making the Words Disappear

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

It’s been a hard work week so far with too many other things I have to do getting in the way of my five pages a day quota to make sure I meet my summer deadline. I’ve been writing and maybe almost getting my pages, but at the end of the day I sometimes end up thinking that I’m going to have to cut most of those words in the final draft. But I tell myself to just get the words out there where I can cut them or improve them, where I can tell the story I’m trying to tell. In the best way I can.

I got a kind e-mail from a writer friend saying she got so into my stories that she didn’t do any critiquing as she read. That’s something a lot of us writers do as we’re reading. Maybe because we’re wanting to think we could have written it better, or maybe just because we can’t turn off the editor in our head so that we can enjoy the story. Anyway, she said she was able to turn off her editor mode and just enjoy my stories. That’s something a writer likes to hear. Right up there with “I couldn’t put it down.” That has to be the favorite comment most writers hear.

Actually what I’m trying to do – when I think about it – is make the words on the page disappear. That is, I want to make my characters and their stories become so real to the readers that they forget they are reading and just live the story along with the people in the book. I’ve read stories by other writers where I felt like that, and I can only hope I am sometimes successful with my own stories. So how does a writer make the words disappear? Good writing. Careful editing. And more rewriting. You have to try to take everything out that might jar the reader from your story and make him or her notice the words sentence by sentence instead of just flowing along the river of words living your story.

Here are a few quotes from writers on writing. If you are a writer, I hope they inspire you to write so well that your words disappear. I hope they inspire me to do the same.

  • A good style should show no signs of effort. What is written should seem a happy accident. ~W. Somerset Maugham, Summing Up, 1938
  • As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out. ~Mark Twain, Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894
  • Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. ~From the movie Finding Forrester
  • One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment. ~Hart Crane
  • Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Oh, yeah, and they say it’s going to be 70 degrees here on Saturday. Zero windchill last Monday and 70 by the weekend. Kentucky weather can be interesting in March. But we are so ready for some warmer temps.If you haven’t already, don’t forget to send me an e-mail from my website to get in on the drawing for the free books on March 22. I’m doing the drawing the day I get back from Texas after the big Book Expo.