Saturday, October 27, 2012

Editing in A “Surreal Landscape:” There’s No Place Like Home!

There is more to telling a story than storytelling. Each semi-colon can contribute to the success of your work and the enjoyment your readers will take in your tale.

It’s one thing to know all of this to be true, but sometimes it takes a while for that knowing to sink in. Longer still to figure out a way to share the lesson. I don’t think I’ve seen a more graphic example of the importance of your writing toolkit in how your story is perceived and enjoyed than this TV Guide-style description of a much-loved movie that’s been making the rounds on Facebook.
Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first person she meets and then teams up with three strangers to kill again.
This description brings to mind all sorts of possible types of film. One can almost visualize grainy cinematography and a lonely highway… until one realizes the film under discussion is The Wizard of Oz. It’s sobering, in a way: realizing how powerful words can be. And thinking about the responsibility we have as writers to cast those words carefully in order to create the mood and feeling we intend.

Remember Strunk & White: “Make every word tell.” Every comma and em-dash, as well.

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