Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Writers on writing: Vincent Lam keeps only pages that pop

Image from Millpond records and books

When Dr. Vincent Lam read from his historical novel at the Surrey Library, I took notes. This was something he said:

“You need to be willing to get this perspective: to say anything you have written can be cut. Everything is on the table and anything can go.

This perspective helps the writer to see what needs to stay and what can go. "When you read the manuscript, the parts that have to stay pop. The pages that don’t have to go."

Helpful editors he worked with suggested what could go and what needed more development. 

Lam wrote and threw away "thousands of pages" in the course of completing this novel. He wrote 75 pages on the childhoods of peripheral characters. The author needed to write them, but they weren’t needed in the finished book.

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