Thursday, February 21, 2013

Freeing the Engineer

Writing Sunset Roma Italy Italia - Creative Commons by gnuckx (4276946305)
I didn't edit as I wrote. I just kept planting new chapters.  I feared the loss of momentum. Even more, I feared the loss of creativity. The unfettered artist writes in a wild flourish, but the meticulous engineer cleans up the mess.  They have completely different brains.  I feared the engineer would kill the artist if I tried to shift hats along the way.  I valued passion over precision.  So I tied and gagged the editor and threw him in the closet.

When the artist finished his canvas, he loosed the engineer and fell into bed.  The engineer rubbed his unused muscles and sprang into action. He'd been planning while the artist splattered words. He sharpened his knife and whacked away at word fat. Less is more when constructing a sentence.  He shook his head at awkward phrasing and tightened the prose. He re-engineered paragraphs to help the reader understand.  He fixed typos and bad grammar while marveling at the artist's sloppiness.

He fixed words faster than the artist had created them. The engineer fixed a chapter a day and declared it very good. The artist shook his head and took another nap.