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“No writing is wasted. Did you know that sourdough from San Francisco is leavened partly by a bacteria called lactobacillus sanfrancisensis? It is native to the soil there, and does not do well elsewhere. But any kitchen can become an ecosystem. If you bake a lot, your kitchen will become a happy home to wild yeasts, and all your bread will taste better. Even a failed loaf is not wasted. Likewise, cheese makers wash the dairy floor with whey. Tomato gardeners compost with rotten tomatoes. No writing is wasted: the words you can’t put in your book can wash the floor, live in the soil, lurk around in the air. They will make the next words better.”
ERIN BOW (via garnetglitter)

 

There is nothing like realizing you just wrote a thousand words of a scene that takes place in a commercial kitchen, say, and then realizing that the crucial bits of that scene really involve two different characters who are cowering under a water tower on the roof. Am I right?!  This quote (via Tumblr, which can be a huge time suck if you’re looking for every gifset from the “Civil War” trailer, but incredibly helpful for keeping all five hundred links to historical fashions in one place)  is true. Someone said you have to write a million words before you know what you’re doing. That is not a direct quote, it’s just how I remember it. And I don’t remember who said it, because I think it might have been Randy Ingermanson, who is just a fantastic human being, but I don’t know if it was his quote or if he was inspired by a different quote so I just paraphrased for the sake of effect which happens sometimes, but I’m copping to it now and if I find the source I’ll….ugh. Hang on. I got a case of the heebie jeebie quote-guilts. Lemme look it up for Pete’s sake.

Found it!

“To develop your voice, I recommend writing one million words.” (source)

In my search just now I learned that a lot of people think that’s malarkey. I guess it depends. I wrote a lot of fanfiction back in the day and I didn’t keep any of those words, thank God, because it was me and a notebook and a full-color poster of Catherine and Vincent from CBS’s 1987 show “Beauty and the Beast.” But those words helped me grow as a writer, for sure. Mostly I’m talking about the words that end up on the cutting room floor in a novel you’re writing for publication: that choice bit of dialogue you cut because it was too maudlin, the villain scene that didn’t fit, the “let’s describe every cobblestone as we walk along to the next scene” scene. Save them, because you might find a place for them later. Save them, because what seemed maudlin at first might be the roots for a future character. Save them, because it’s fun.

No writing is wasted on the journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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