What’s hidden on da Vinci’s computer?
Moving on, a lot of people ask me what the hardest part about writing is – coming up with ideas? No. Character development? No. Writing dialogue? No. Implementing the plot so it goes where you want it to? Again, no. The hardest part about writing – fiction that is, because clearly newspaper reporting is a completely different beast – is … drum roll (or not) … the hardest part is taking what you have put to paper, be it 100 words, 1,000 words or sometimes 30,000 words, and deleting them; which is exactly what I rose this morning at 3 am to do.
Because sometimes, even though the words might be good – sometimes, they just aren’t the right ones. And it’s recognizing this that makes the difference between simply stinging together vocabulary or writing language that affects your reader …
I have a file on my computer titled “other” – it’s where I keep all the fragments from past and present writings that I’m not ready to part with … early this morning I moved 27,418 words to this file. Alas, as a part of me sees it as a setback from the novel I thought I had completed, the other part of me knows it’s what had to happen to move the story from good to great. And maybe someday, in some future work, I’ll find a place for them.
It is said that da Vinci took close to 12-15 years to paint the Mona Lisa and even so, still did not consider her finished. Makes you wonder, if he’d had a computer what would have been stored in his “other” file? What do you keep in your “other” file?