I’ve recently discovered what every woman dreams of: a hair-cutting genius. (With apologies to all the hairdressers in my past. You were great, but my latest experience just struck me as a perfect metaphor.)
The genius’s name is Rob, and I’d tell you the name of his salon, but then I’d never be able to get in–he’s already very busy. The difference with Rob, you see, lies in the fact that he looked at my head, my hair, and the shape of my face–all those things we’re told to pay attention to–and then he told me what he was going to do.
My problem, he said (I’m paraphrasing; he was much more diplomatic) is that I have too much hair. I knew this. So he was going to remove all the hair above and behind my ears and at the nape of my neck.
Remove my hair? Images of bald flesh and itchy stubble flashed before my eyes, then Rob assured me he wasn’t actually going to shave my head. But remove the excess hair, yes. The result would be hair that kept its shape, flattered my head, and did not look like an overgrown ligustrum bush.
So I trusted myself to Rob’s scissors and didn’t even wince when he cut the air around and behind my ears shorter than the length of a pencil eraser. Thank heaven, I couldn’t see what he was doing at the back of my head. And you know what? I walked out of that salon with hair that was easier to dry, style, and actually looked good on this aging head.
The metaphor part? Writing is like that. Sometimes you have to have the courage to remove pages, scenes, chapters, and extraneous words. Clip, clip. Snip, snip. The result is a tighter, leaner book.
The other day, in her Charis post, Liz Higgs mentioned the practice of saving deleted scenes and chapters in a computer file to ease the pain of separation. I’ve been doing this for some time. Some of the good material will find its way to my web page, like the deleted scenes on a DVD. The simple and unnecessary words can vanish from sight, and good riddance.
Ah. When in doubt, cut it out. Works for me!