Where do words go when they die?
This post started out as a lamentation on the pitfalls of the writing and critique process. I wrote four paragraphs and then deleted them just now.
Oops, I just did it again. You will never see those paragraphs or those words. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Maybe they were bad paragraphs. Or maybe they were just irrelevant, rambling paragraphs. But maybe something good was in there? Arrgh! *pulls hair*
This is the crux of the editing dilemma. In the midst of cutting out sections, words, and even characters, you cannot just query the world and ask “does the addition of this leaf description and the omission of the first half of my story arc add to the picture of dystopian hopelessness?” Yeah J4N3@UST#N! It really does. While you’re at it, maybe try deleting the second half of your story arc too and replacing it with another description of a different leaf. Also, we need some romance.
I wish I could read all the unpublished paragraphs of my favorite authors. Do they have shitty paragraphs too? Did they reluctantly delete an entire book and start a completely different one? How many words have you control-z’d in your life?
Let us have a moment of silence for all the unpublished words.