Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Hardest Part: Knowing When It's Finished

Editing frustrates me. Here’s a little something I wrote in my diary which explains why:

Every house looks the same. The houses all look alike. Each house looks like any other. The houses are interchangeable. The houses are as uniform as scattered pennies. The houses all look the same. I can’t tell which house is which. The houses are as anonymous as their owners. Each house looks the same. All the houses are the same. The houses are all the same. If the houses have even minor differences, it would take an expert in architecture to spot them. Looking at the houses, I can’t tell which is the one I grew up in and which are my neighbors.’ The houses are as like and lifeless as prison cells. Each house looks like every other. The houses share an eerie similarity. The houses are striking in their similarity. The houses are so similar even the residents check the numbers to find their way home. The uniformity of the houses is such that it’s difficult to imagine one of them singled out as a home. Each house is the same. Every house looks alike. The houses are more alike than brothers, making the street difficult to navigate. The houses share a uniformity.
I could go on but you get the idea - every page is a thousand choices. If you wonder why you can’t read my finished novel, now you know.

If you’ve written true in the surrounding sentences, there will be one clear winner. If you haven’t . . . all the houses look the same.

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