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The Importance of Abandoning Crap

September 24, 2009

This American Life‘s Ira Glass talks about the challenge of finding a good story and the importance of abandoning crap:

The entire video deserves a massive amen.

In a way, it also reminds me of a recent episode of Mad Men, where the new Brit whip-cracker is getting on Don’s case about the waste and inefficiency in the creative department. To which Don replies “my team needs to be unproductive so they can be productive”.

There’s more than a grain of truth here. Whether writing a novel or a few lines of feature copy, storyboarding a video, developing a content plan, or even putting together a solid presentation, it takes time to figure out the best approach and coax out the best story. And often, the mediocre stories, or the ones that just aren’t clicking, have to be killed. Which is exactly why I’ve jumped from topic to topic trying to determine the best course for the next novel. Better to kill things off at the outset than when you’ve already fought yourself halfway down that road.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bonnie MacDougall permalink
    October 3, 2009 2:07 pm

    But sometimes crap isn’t crap. Take Shakespeare. He has this ditty of a scene in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING [c.1598] where Hero, falsely accused of infidelity is sent off in disgrace to appear sometime later in the form of a statue that comes alive. Those themes and images must have marinated for about ten years because they are full-blown (and exquiste) in THE WINTER’s TALE [c.1610]where the whole play treats the ideas of false accusation, loss of time because of it, and redemption of whatever is left after that time has elapsed, and Hermione, sent off in disgrace in Act I, comes ‘alive’ in Act V from the form of a statue. Point being: maybe all of the stuff entangled in a subject is worth treating, but just all of it can’t be treated in the same book/play or at the same time.

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