Furry dice, hard work and sexy guys named Chris

24april_tacky_motor-431x300So it turns out Ashton Kutcher’s real first name is NOT Ashton. Nope, it’s Chris. Ashton is his middle name. He changed it for his career.

Apparently the inference is “Chris” is not exactly a great name for a sexy actor. Hmm.

Okay, wait.

Not that I think Ashton Kutcher is sexy.

Wow, this has gone off the rails fast, hasn’t it? Anyway. More on the whole Ashton Kutcher thing later. The sexy thing, too.

Today I pushed send on an email. It contained the latest revision of my novel. It was addressed to my agent. A big step, because it sort of feels like I could keep changing the thing, making it better, forever.

It also feels like I never want to look at it again. Or at least not for a week or two.

I actually finished the revision almost a week ago. But I needed to read it aloud one more time to catch any awkward sentences or other line-edity things I wanted to weed out before declaring it ready for her to read again.

I found a lot of “furry dice.” What are furry dice, you ask? Come on, you remember that guy in high school with the furry dice hanging off his rearview, right? It wasn’t needed, was it? I mean, you pretty much already knew he was a loser.

Anyway, furry dice in writing are all those unnecessary words that can just…go. It starts with simple stuff, like:

He shrugged his shoulders.

She nodded her head.

Really, what else do you shrug? What else do you nod? Exactly.

At the risk or “putting myself out there,” here are some real examples from my writing this time around.

ORIGINAL:

Maybe we keep them because we want to have hope those relationships can be rebuilt on top of them someday.  (20 words)

EDITED:

Maybe we keep them because we want to have hope those (our old) relationships can be rebuilt on top of them someday. 

RESULT:

Maybe we keep them because we hope our old relationships can be rebuilt someday.  (14 words)

ORIGINAL:

She stood frozen, unable to bring herself to move, though in her mind all she could think about was turning and running away.  (23 words)

EDITED:

She stood frozen, unable to bring herself to move, though in her mind all she could think about was turning and running away. 

RESULT:

She stood frozen, though in her mind all she could think about was turning and running away.  (17 words – do you think if she stood frozen, that she might be unable to bring herself to move? Yeah, me too. I don’t guess I need to say it twice like that.)

ORIGINAL:

Then she thought of Gram again and the hand she held the phone with trembled. She couldn’t let go of her anger.  (22 words)

EDITED:

Then she thought of  (remembered) Gram again and the hand she held the phone with trembled. She couldn’t let go of her (with) anger.

RESULT:

Then she remembered Gram again and the hand she held the phone with trembled with anger.  (16 words)

You get the idea. With this method, I removed probably 2,000 words from my manuscript. It was hard work. I evaluated over 90,000 words to determine whether each and every one belonged there.

Which brings me back to Ashton Kutcher. I can hardly believe I’m sharing a video from the Teen Choice Awards, but, well, I am. The other day he gave a speech there where he announced his real first name is Chris (well of course it is – all the best people are named Chris) and talked about three things: (1) hard work leading to opportunity, (2) being sexy and (3) building your own life, rather than living someone else’s.

Let’s just say he’s a long way from Dude, Where’s My Car?

I really liked what he had to say, especially about the hard work. I feel much the same. If by some miracle I become published and we talk in person, I’ll probably tell you I was lucky, that I was just in the right place at the right time. Or something like that.

But, after the past several weeks of difficult revision (again), after evaluating every one of my 90,000 words to decide if it belongs, I feel okay telling you now that if it does happen, if I do get published, it’s totally not luck. It’s because of hard work. Hard work that I’m damn proud of doing.

Not that I did it on my own. There are some important people I should thank, but it’s not yet time for such public gratitude. They know who they are, mean football coaches though they may be. Which is meant in the very best way possible.

Anyway, here’s Ashton’s (Chris’?) speech:

I also appreciated his attempt (for the kiddos) to make sexy about something other than winning the genetic lottery. I liked the way he tried to take the pressure off the teens who were listening. That was nice. Let them live their twenties in peace, rather than trying in vain to appeal to the other gender all the time. Because when you get to your forties, you really don’t give a crap anymore.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s