Monday, March 2, 2015

Guest Post: Elizabeth Moon's "Chainsaw of Correction"

The Chainsaw of Correction Is Being Applied to Scenes of Great
Beauty and No Particular Utility.

There was snarling from the Chainsaw
And weeping from the words
As whole paragraphs broke open
and stray letters flew like birds.
There was savagery and violence
beneath the Chainsaw's roar
And the velvet curtains shredded
In a whirlwind of rose gore.

For the Writer had decreed
from her throne and keyboard fine,
"There has got to be some cutting!
I must draw a thick black line!
Though this character is charming
Though her face is very fair
She must earn her place in this book
Or I'll yank her out of there!"

"But" the fair-faced character pleaded
"I'm a queen, you know that well!
I am gracious, I am stately
And I fight so very well."
"Then advance the plot," cried Writer
As the Chainsaw snarled its song,
"Or like all this other rubbish
You'll be gone by midnight's gong."

Though it's vivid, no description
Can escape the Chainsaw's bite
Without being more plot-relevant
Than a tourist's pretty sight.
Conversations too are falling
One by one and two by two
And as branches crash around them
Story's real road comes in view.

Weighty ponderings of nobles,
Clever backchat from a child,
Long and boring dissertations:
Their death sentences are filed.
Does it matter who dismounted first?
Not a bit...then cut it out.
Does it matter what they ate for lunch
or what they talked about?

Ever onward through the undergrowth
The Chainsaw snarls its way...
(But writing verse will not get done
What must be done today.)

Elizabeth Moon, a Texas native, is a Marine Corps veteran with degrees in history and biology. She began writing stories in childhood but did not make her first fiction sale until age forty. She has published twenty-three novels, including Nebula Award winner The Speed of Dark, three short-fiction collections including Moon Flights in 2007, and over thirty short-fiction pieces in anthologies and magazines. Her latest book is Kings of the North (second book of Paladin's Legacy) a return to the world of The Deed of Paksenarrion, and the third in that group, Crisis of Vison, is due out in 2012.  The first book of Paladin's Legacy, Oath of Fealty, is now in paperback also.
In non-writing hours, she enjoys nature photography, gardening, cooking, Renaissance style fencing, messing about with horses, and music, including singing in a church choir. And wasting time online, of course...

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