Talk is Cheap and so are Words

J. Carson Black @

Imagine an author saying words are cheap. Words are everything to an author, right? Well, yes and no.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned about MY words over the years.

  1. I prize a well-turned sentence and a great paragraph and become attached to them.
  2. When I have to cut that well-turned phrase or paragraph it pains me. For a while. Sometimes I copy and paste it somewhere else, hoping to reuse it, but that almost never happens.
  3. But story comes first. And stories shift as they go along. And something can be elegant and beautiful, or strong and vital, and still be wrong for the turn I’m taking. More pain! 🙁
  4. I start writing and keep writing until I get to the end of a scene, even when I don’t know where I’m going, so sometimes I have to start over and write the whole thing over again from a new perspective or after more plot ideas come to light and change the slant of the narrative.Hat Tip: Did you know that the great thriller writer T. Jefferson Parker wrote his first book 7 or 8 times? he just threw out the last draft and started afresh each time.
  5. Here’s the kicker: those words and paragraphs are not lost. I see them this way. They are like trails emblazoned across a mountain. They might peter out, they might not be the right trail, but you get to know the topography of the land, you get to know the general area, you know where you had to turn back, and so you blaze a NEW trail. And the new trail sometimes follows very closely to the old one, but it is more efficient. It is a better way to get over the mountain.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I am in writing mode, yet I am writing a police procedural, and while I know a lot of cop stuff I can fall back on, there’s plenty I may be missing. And I need to get with my expert and have him see what I’m doing so he can tell me what I’ve missed and what I’ve screwed up on. I’m quickly getting to that point.

But I’m still writing because I want to lay stuff down while it’s still fresh.

Because words are cheap. I asked them if they mind being used in such a careless manner, and they said they’re fine with it.