Whack It

My long-suffering wife is an outstanding gardener. She knows lots about plants, ranging from fruit trees to kale to blueberries and figs. One thing she loves to do is "whack" plants. "Whack" means "to prune." She loves cutting back non-productive elements of plants so that they can thrive. So, what does this have to do with writing?

The wonderful writer, Elmore Leonard said this:  "I try to leave out the parts that people skip." In my wife's parlance, that means he "whacks" his novels in order to get down to the meat while eliminating the fat. We should all listen to this, and I did in my just-completed novel, Keeping to Himself (even now looking for an agent or publisher). The protagonist doesn't say much, even though there is much he could say. He just wants to keep to himself, so when he says or does something, he means it. 

So, when you write, do likewise. "Whack" the parts of your work that people skip. Your work will be better for it.

Side Note:  Last night I rewatched the Paul Newman movie, "Hombre," one of the best ever. I saw it for the first time in 1967, and it stays with me. Lines from the film have come to me over the years, from time to time. I was surprised when I learned that the movie came from a novel by the same name by, you guessed it, Elmore Leonard.