The sentence that needed to die

I rewrote it. Then I rewrote it again.

It still didn’t seem right. Didn’t flow, somehow. It should’ve been funny, an appealingly quirky detail. But it broke the rhythm of things.

I rewrote it. And rewrote it again.

In sheer exasperation I decided the sentence’s flaws were entirely in my head and it was a good sentence after all. I just wasn’t appreciating it enough. I wasn’t giving the sentence enough credit. Oh me of little faith.

I rewrote it again.

And then a critiquer pointed out that, technically speaking, I didn’t need the sentence, because the story made perfect sense without it, and it was just a distraction.

Oh right. I could just delete the sentence. Why didn’t I think of that?

Because, obviously, they’re my words and when you’ve written something, it’s near impossible to decide which words get to stay and which ones have to go. Judge, jury and executioner is a tough triple job, when you’re also the defendant and the plaintiff. (Let’s pretend I haven’t already stretched this metaphor too far.)

And this is why we need critiquers, and why we need to be critiquers for others. To help each other see which words to save … or not.

I shall delete the sentence at dawn. There will be a short ceremony, plus a eulogy, followed by refreshments. Meaning, of course, breakfast.

And the story will be better for it.