Moments in Editing: What Do I Do with You?
As you reread your story, you find a sentence. It’s not a terrible sentence. It may even be a good sentence. At the very least, it is a serviceable sentence. But still, this sentence does not work. Nestled in its paragraph, it stands out as not ringing true, as not fitting quite right within the other sentences. You can’t take the sentence out, that would only leave a hole. You must do something with this sentence. Rewrite it, rearrange it, reform it into something that says basically the same thing but in a more…correct way. It’s just one sentence. If you fix it, this paragraph, maybe this page, will work out all right, and you can move on. One sentence — it can’t be that hard — you’ve written millions of them. But then you stare…and stare… Nothing changes. You see no other possibilities, except this one, sitting in its wrongness on the page. You continue stare, hoping, until you shove the laptop away, drop your head on your desk and moan, “What do I do with you?”