Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Lamenting

Okay, so bear with me--this story really will have a point . . . eventually.

I have a two-year-old son who is extremely addicted to his binky. When my daughter turned two we took her binkies away and it wasn't a big deal. However, we tried that with Brennan and it did NOT work. He was severely addicted and not only would he cry forever for his bink, he would also find them. Places I didn't even think he could reach he would retrieve binkies from. Like the binkies gave him some supernatural power to reach high places and see through solid objects. Super-Binky Man! I was beginning to think we would never get him off the bink.

Then, last Saturday he woke up from his nap (with his blue bink in his mouth) and I spotted the orange bink on the floor. (We did manage to get him down to two.) I picked up the orange bink, thinking I would again attempt to hide it in a high place when I saw it had a little hole in it. Hooray! No good for sucking any more. So I gave it to Brennan and showed him where it was broken. I said, "Okay, let's go throw it away." He was excited about that because if there is anything a two-year-old likes to do more than sucking on a binky, it's throwing things away. So he tossed his broken bink in the trash. Then, totally kidding, I tapped the blue binky in his mouth and said, "How about this one? Should we throw this one away too?" Now I was totally expecting him to shrink back and yell, "Nooooo!!!!" But to my surprise, he popped it out and threw it away. My hubby and I looked at each other in amazement, but without a word we both turned and retreated from the garbage can before he could change his mind and snatch it back.

Fast-forward to bedtime that night.

Bren went to bed okay, but about ten minutes later we heard him get out of bed and come to sit by the closed door. Then, in this sweet little lamenting voice he said, "I frew away my binky, oh no, oh no."

There are several people in my writing cyber-world who tend to start books, get like 20,000 words into them, then delete them and start over. They do this like five and six times. Now I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but I am saying that I don't understand it. It's such a permanent thing! Any time I delete a large section of text, I save it somewhere, just in case. Even if I know it's bad, I save it just in case I happen to find a place for it in either another spot in the book, or even another book entirely. If I ever deleted a big segment of text I would do like my son did--sit at the computer the next day lamenting, "I deleted that whole segment, oh no, oh no."

So those of you who do this, help me understand. Why? Don't you ever regret it? Maybe it makes you feel more like you have a fresh start. I don't know. I just have gone back way too many times to borrow back bits and pieces of a section I don't want anymore (even if it's just a line or two) to ever just delete such a large section of text. Do you ever regret it? Or, like my son (who is now binky-free, Yea!!) do you just move on?

Ciao!

15 comments:

angelle said...

aw. that is the cutest thing ever (in a sort of sad way). little boy lamenting over his own rash decision. that's so cute.

i agree with you. well, i'm a packrat. i can't throw ANYTHING away. i save it somewhere "just in case". sigh.

David L. McAfee said...

I never delete anything. My Writing folder is full of tidbits and essays I kept in case I ever need them later.

Wow. Two years is old for a binky. We took my daughter's away at about the same time we took away her ba-ba. She was real good about it, though, never even flinched.

All kids are different. :)

Anonymous said...

quoting Hemingway:

"The first draft of anything is shit."

Demon Hunter said...

I have deleted lines, but never large amounts. I cannot use a prologue I wrote but I saved it for another book in my series...

Kari Diane Pike said...

My heart ached reading your blog...partly from picturing Brennan's sad little face behind that bedroom door, and partly from knowing that the little man is growing up. He's so much like his daddy...and I just want to hug him!

I save everything I write because I have always found a need for the things that did get thrown out. Then again, I have the same problem with stuff in the house...it took me four hours to convince myself that it was time to throw out the 9 year old dried rose petals from Amy's wedding...sigh...I might get the house clean by my 60th.

ORION said...

Oh my - just the sad little touch that i needed!
oh no oh no...
I never delete ANYTHING.
Of course I lose stuff...

moonrat said...

i am TOTALLY IN YOUR BOAT. worse, i do it when i EDIT, too!! which means that each book's digital file has a document called "bits" in it, which i've used as a repository for all the chunks i cut out of a given manuscript. ridiculous, since in most cases truculent authors just reinstate all the hard work you did and you're back at frustrating Square 1.

also, your son's adorable.

trina rubert said...

That boy and that story are just precious and make me smile .

John Elder Robison said...

You will probably go a lot farther in life if you can teach yourself to move forward without looking back.

Carrie said...

I never throw anything away. I have a file for each book called "Errata and Lost Words" where I paste everything I delete. Then it's gone from my draft, but I don't panic in case I need it. Of course, I can't think of any time that I've actually reversed the process -- taken something I've thrown away and put it back in. It just makes me feel good to know that it isn't gone for good, just in case.

Maprilynne said...

I'm not talking little deletions . . . I get rid of those without a second though. I mean HUGE chunks. Pages and pages . . . sometimes over one hundred pages. For me, saving those pieces--at least temporarily--has paid off. I cut tons of words from ym fantasy novel and saved the huge chunks. Then, when my agent wanted to see more in some scenes., I ended up copy/pasting about 5,000 words back in as well as writing almost thirty pages of new scene.

Travis Erwin said...

Like you I am a saver. I hoard scenes even when I know they will never work.

But I have a friend who wears out her delete button. Her motto is, "It came out of my brain. I wrote it once I can write it again and most likely it will be better the second time around."

The Writerly Pause said...

Each time you start over, you're essentially starting a new book. It will never be the same.

And so, if your friends find a sense of order in doing it this way, perhaps it's because they're trying to rid their minds of clutter.

I have started my novel over before (many times), have even lost major sections. But usually there is a hard copy of it somewhere --though after the 5th or 6th draft, I do toss out the old-old ones.

Now, one wonders had Twain not saved all his old drafts --would we have known as much about the man as we know today? Had people not preciously saved his letters we would have lacked knowledge about his life. Anyway, makes me think about all this email, which also gets deleted or forgotten so easily.

Stephen Prosapio said...

DEFINITELY save huge chunks!

I watched the commentary of "Pan's Labyrinth" this past weekend. Writer/Director Guirmo Del Toro revealed at one point that a scene from the movie released in 2006 had been written (with modifications) in another screenplay FOURTEEN YEARS earlier!

Genny said...

That is the cutest story! I have some things like that in my life too...even though I'm not a writer, I am a composer and know how that goes! I have a huge project I've been putting off, restarting, and revising for years now. Hi to you and your family from JJ and I :o)