The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Having the Good Fortune of Siamese Twins

drawing/photo by Prof. Jas. Mundie
         A writer friend of mine, Tammy, recently spoke of "separating the Siamese twins." Someone had shared a story, and we all thought there were two stories embodied in the single piece.

      Just as it's delicate work to surgically separate conjoined twins, it is also tough when using a knife during revising. Which parts need to be taken out?  What needs to be added so each part stands on its own? Or is it impossible to ensure that both stories survive? Perhaps one was "feeding" off the other and is unable to live independently.

       Certainly, it's a great problem to have: Two. Two. Two writing pieces in one. However, there has been at least one instance when I was in that predicament and lost interest when the OR was booked. It was as if I lost steam once the initial piece was put onto paper. I vented. I poured my heart out. Now it will have to languish, on a ventilator, until I am willing to scrub up and start cutting.

      I loved Tammy's phrase. It's perfect. What great phrases have you created or stolen heard about the writing process (or the teaching/kid wrangling process)?


  1. Hi Sioux,
    Very wise advice.
    One phrase I use--and I don't know where I first heard it--is to "write tight" when revising to eliminate unnecessary words or phrases in my writing.

  2. Ah, yes. Two. A good problem to have...I think. My kitchen shears remain firmly shut in the kitchen drawer...I haven't worked up the courage to tear this one apart yet. It needs a few days to percolate, then I'll pull it out of the file and the stronger story will leap from the page like a student with the right answer falling out of the desk chair to be called on ; )
    And, irishoma...I have heard the "write tight" phrase, too. Very good advice, whomever came up with it.

  3. Well, gosh. I am saddened by the image of your literary patient languishing on the ventilator. So much so that I can't think of any great phrases.

    The best I can do came from a 4th-grade-teaching colleague of mine back in the late 1980s, in Cuba, Missouri. Over a Friday night game of teacher poker, after a stress-relieving rant on a particularly trying incident, she sighed: "Kids. Can't live with 'em. Can't eat without 'em."

  4. When I first read this, I thought, "Hey, that's my name, too!" Dur. Thanks for the link! I hope your literary patientS eventually go on to live separate lives where the parts are greater than the sum. And love Val's saying!

  5. This was a great post Sioux. Love all the comments. I love Tammy's DUR. I always go DUH, but I love DUR. It'll be my new word now.


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