Craft, Editing, Words, Writing

I’m thinning the peaches …

The title of this post is a metaphor. Can you guess for what? If you said editing, you must be a regular reader of this blog. I spent a part of my morning yesterday thinning peaches, and then I spent my afternoon “thinning peaches.”

Before we moved to this house, a previous owner had planted one dwarf peach tree in the backyard. I don’t know when, but it was already fruit-bearing when I inherited it. This is my first peach, so I had no experience caring for one.

The first spring we lived here, a woman more knowledgeable than I stood next to it and, while we talked, she reached over and started pulling off some of the cute baby peaches. From the look on my face, she rightly deduced that I had no experience with growing stone fruits and explained her action.

As you can see from the photo, cute baby peaches are born in litters. You can leave them all on the tree and end up with a lot of dinky, deformed peaches or you can thin them out and end up with a smaller harvest of beautiful, juicy, baseball-sized peaches. Your choice.

The principle behind editing your writing is the same as in thinning peaches. You want to rid your work of the “extras” so they don’t suck up all the energy meant for the few. Make no mistake, it’s hard work, but if you expend the effort, your remaining words have a chance to become luscious.

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34 thoughts on “I’m thinning the peaches …”

  1. Great metaphor! I find that when I chop about half of what I’ve written, my story is cleaner, clearer, and has a life to it that was hidden under all those extra words.

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    1. I started to say that I write too lean to chop half, but then, because I edit as I write, I guess there’s no way to tell how much I write then immediately cut. I do love thinning out those weak or superflous words and finding one perfect word to replace three. It’s like a game. And I’m ready to play and finish up Brevity. Unfortunately, I have critique group tomorrow and I just discovered that family obligations will take up the next three days! So, on Monday, I will edit from waking till bedtime. 🙂

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      1. Cynthia, it is wider (new theme) but is the font larger too? It didn’t seem so on my monitors (3) but I read on a WP forum, that some people think the font on this theme is too large. I don’t want my blog to look like silly.

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        1. I like it. I do think the font is larger too but that could just be an illusion. But it’s a new theme? Which one? Other than wider, it looks just the same. Were you using the same one as me?

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          1. Yes, I was using the same theme as you, at one time, then I switched to Pressrow. This one is called Twenty Ten. WordPress has released a new theme every few days for the last couple weeks. I like that this one gives more visual weight to the post, but I think the header is too prominent. I’ll probably scale that down with a CSS modification. I could do that to the font too, if it looks clownish. I need to check how it looks on a Mac today.

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