Monday, August 13, 2012


Three weeks ago an editor agreed to publish my 5000-word humorous memoir about my foray into the underworld of competitive bodybuilding . . . provided I cut 2500-words.  Cut?  Half? 

It was a necessary challenge and one I actually loathed to face.  Nevertheless, after several days of procrastination, I sat down one evening and began cutting and rewriting.  The goal, of course, was to create a 2500-word essay that would contain the essentials of the 5000-word memoir without losing any of the voice, pace, or wit of the longer.

When I finally re-submitted the piece to the editor, he informed me:  "Nice job.  Most writers can't do it.  It's difficult to cut 1/2 of a memoir, but you've accomplished it admirably."


Anyone who sets out to write eventually learns how to cut.  Rewriting is, in essence, cutting, refining, revising.  But I was glad to make that 2500 word cut.  I've ended up with a fast-paced read, I think.  And I hope people will enjoy the memoir and find it insightful and knock-dead funny when it finally hits the newstand.

The editor is also going to publish some of my humorous "before-and-after" bodybuilding photos, showing how I lapsed "after" the competition into my old donut-eating routines and pale-skinned hair-suit instead of my buff, tanned six-pack body.  I went from eating 1000 calories a day (all muscle and bone) to eating a diet consisting primarily of Snickers and Almond Joys (goodbye six-pack).

But I never know what to do with these thousands of words that I've left on the "cutting room" floor.  Where do these words go?  I suppose they just float away into the netherworld like so many other words that I have written . . . rising upward into that great unused library in the sky.

Maybe I should start another blog next year entitled "Extra words" or "Clippings from the Cutting Room Floor".

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