I can clearly discern which sections I wrote during free-wheeling, word-flowing time off when I spent a couple of hours jotting down stream-of-consciousness, vaguely-related meanderings, which eventually morphed into a further couple of hours of deftly-written, not-to-be-deleted, killer copy ending with sore fingers and a stone cold cup of coffee beside me.
Equally, and far more distressingly, clear are the passages penned in a snatched Tuesday-evening hour between putting the bins out and de-fleaing the cats. (Never let anyone tell you the life of an aspiring writer is anything less than a free-for-all of bohemian glamour!)
What to do is the question? How to untighten the screws and loosen up those stilted, laborious paragraphs? Whole chapters in some cases.
I have tried the Oscar Wilde approach of poring over them for hours, changing the occasional word for a more flowery word, only to replace the original word an hour later. All it did was give me a headache.
I have tried the approach of chopping these bits out like a gangrenous appendix for the overall health of their host. Do appendixes/appendices get gangrene? Don’t know, but it’s a good image huh? Yep, thought so.
No. That won’t do at all. I fear there is only one viable solution my dear friends. I am becoming convinced that I need to find some of that valuable free-wheeling time mentioned in the first paragraph (do keep up at the back…) and… *small gasp*… re-write these passages entirely.
Those of you who have pored over manuscripts several dozen times will appreciate the dread with which I am filled at this notion. I have to re-read the whole thing. Then I have to re-read the offending sections. Then I have to free my mind like a lone seagull whirling in the wisp-blue skies of a seaside town and re-write those passages with the same freedom of flow and yet keep their original significance.
Or I could just burn it.
So dear readers, what do you do at times like this? What’s your trick for loosening up the bits of your writing that are wound like a clock-spring?