My Newsletter

Pruning Words
Friday, November 11, 2022 by Donnie Stevens

This is the time of year when the sap falls, I find myself outside pruning tree limbs, shrubbery, rose bushes, and creeping ground coverings. I have band aids taped to my arms and legs for the pricks and cuts I received to prove I’ve clipped or trimmed every bush or tree on my lawn. But all a labor of love.

 With the extra rainfall we’ve had this spring and summer, its proven to be quite a chore. You know the routine. Once your neighbor does it, you follow suit. Sigh Once it’s finished, I can stand back and admire a fully groomed lawn, as well as look forward to the new growth and bloom that nature will usher in next spring with her brilliant colors of budding bulbs and tiny green leaflets. A new season, a new beginning, and a breath of new energy to welcome in my favorite time of year.

As I sit here at my desk typing this note, it reminds me of another pruning I do year long. Not so much a seasonal endeavor but typing a chapter to my manuscript or story. Every story has many seasons between the beginning and the end, the chapters filled with human emotion, crisis after crisis, stormy relationships, and twist and turns that keep you cheering for either the heroine or hero.

Every season of the story must have a setting, time, plot, conflict, and a climax, good or bad. Not the ending to the story but a reason to keep our readers turning pages. We authors strive to write chapters that’ll put a smile on your face, laughter in your voice, keep you on edge, and yes, a tear when appropriate. One of my favorite compliments is when someone tells me something in my story has been a real-life issue they’ve went through or dealt with. That is when I know I’ve nailed it.

At the end of the chapter comes the hard part. I go back and start pruning. It may be as little as changing a verb or two, adding an adjective, or merging two sentences together. Sometimes deleting words or a complete paragraph or slanting the plot to a new direction. Our self-edits or pruning chapters in the story can require more research, many rewrites, revisions, and critique partners reading over it. As an author, we strive to put our best work in front of you, our reader.

I love completing the end to a chapter because I’m so involved with the characters or events unfolding, I can’t wait to get the next chapter started. That’s when I look at the time and its after eleven o’clock and past my bedtime. Then I can’t sleep because I’m so hyped up. LOL. But that usually means the chapter has been pruned to perfection and the reader will keep turning the pages. A labor of love for sure. Keep on pruning. It brings out the best in you.


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Pruning Words
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