Thursday, September 08, 2011

by Cheri Chesley

By the time you read this, I will have moved already. :) It's also my birthday (last week, the 1st). lol.

(Image courtesy of

Looking back, in my life I've lived in 3 states, 7 cities and 7 wards. In 15 yrs of marriage, we've moved 8 times. This month makes number 9. sigh.

You'd think I'd have developed a system by now to make packing and moving easier. I haven't. We're collecting boxes and accepting help wherever we can, and I still feel overwhelmed by it all.

I seriously hate moving.

But, packing to move is a lot like the process of editing out certain scenes, dialogue or segments of our stories. As I sit there with a box and a pile of things to put in it, I go through that pile and get rid of everything that isn't necessary.

And, if it really is difficult, I ask myself if we had a fire and I lost everything, would I miss this? I know that sounds dramatic, but I have to ask myself similar questions about things I cut from my stories.

It's not secret, when I published The Peasant Queen, my publisher asked me to cut my 440 page manuscript down to less than 300 pages. At times, I had to be brutal. It was not easy. In some cases, it was downright painful. I saved everything I cut, certain I'd revisit the segments and maybe add them back in later in the series.

I've never looked at that file since.

Similarly, there are items I've left behind in our many moves and never missed them.

I still hate packing. ;)

There's a point where you have to ask yourself if this thing you want to keep is absolutely essential. When we downsized from our 6 bedroom house across town to this little apartment, I asked myself that question a lot. Now, facing a cross-country move, I'm asking myself again. What is so important I have to take it 1200 miles? Obviously, my DI furniture can stay. It'd be easier and cheaper to replace it when we get there than to pay for the bigger truck to haul it all out there.

Editing is so like that. What do you want to carry? What is absolutely essential to the story, that the reader cannot do without? What can be replaced--written in a better, more concise way later?

When it comes to stuff, there are many things I'll gleefully throw away. Writing is much harder.

1 comment:

Sher A. Hart said...

I'm campaigning, building my platform so I won't be embarrassed to query. So are you another ANWA member? Maybe I was the last one to find out about the organization. With all those moves, I'm guessing military? We're finally done with the military, but not the moves. Hope to move away from Florida when my hubby really retires. Stop by my blog and say hi. My name is a little longer in ANWA, this is my pun name. You can enter my chocolate contest for new followers, but if you get there too late, I'll put you in the next batch of entries.