Mandy Eve-Barnett's Official Blog

Inspiration for Writers & Building A Community ©

Is it really Dross?

January 10, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Dross – definition: 1) the waste slag or scum that forms on the surface of molten metal 2) waste or foreign matter : impurity 3) something that is base, trivial or inferior

No matter if you are a new writer or a seasoned one, there are times when we read a paragraph or short excerpt and just despair. It can be the premise, the interaction of characters or just how the scene reads. We’re just not happy with it. Depending on your mind set at that moment, there are a few spur of the moment actions that may occur. Pressing delete is number one for most of us as we berate ourselves for writing such dross. Another is to focus too hard on it and become bogged down, re-writing again and again, usually having the result of making us even angrier and unable to concentrate creatively.

Image

If you are absolutely sure that deleting the passage is the only way, then do it but if not, save the offending article in isolation – may be create a ‘dross’ file? Leave the work and do something else, non-writing related. A walk, a workout, make a cup of tea and read a book for a while, no matter what it is distract your mind. In the terminology of the computer age – reboot your mind. Once you return you can see the article with fresh eyes and if you are lucky a revision will reveal itself.

Another aspect of ‘dross’ thinking is when you have finished a project and second-guess yourself as to its merits. Is it good enough? Will anyone like it? Is my writing worthy of submission to a publisher, a magazine or beta readers? We are uncertain literary beings at the best of times and unfortunately compare ourselves to the ‘greats’. All of us have heard the stories of successful authors receiving many rejections before being ‘found’, such J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and John le Carre. Make yourself feel better just look at this link – http://www.examiner.com/article/30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-rejected-repeatedly-and-sometimes-rudely-by-publishers

ImageImageImage

There is always a golden phrase or sentence that is worth saving or revising. Juggle the words, mix the sentences around or write it from a different characters perspective.  Do not give up hope – your words are precious after all.

Advertisements

6 Comments

  1. Great tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Like

  2. Hi there. I got sent here by Jackie from To Breathe is to Write. As I am doing NaNoWriMo I am finding that what you’ve written here is really hitting the spot. I’m not much for editing. But writing really is like mining metal. Just because you’ve hacked out a huge chunk of ore doesn’t mean it’s valuable. We must refine, and burn of the icky bits. If it’s a gem we’ve found, we must cut and polish and set. I guess what I’m saying is that some of it is dross, but that’s okay. Part of becoming a better writer is learning to recognizing the dross and then improving upon it.

    Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Some Good Advice About Writing | To Breathe is to Write

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
%d bloggers like this: