Feb 172010

I broke something on my website. I really liked the way My Fictional Life worked on WordPress and love this theme by Sayontan Sinha. So I was attempting to merge My Fictional Life with the rest of HearWriteNow and do a slow migration of the whole site onto WordPress, but too much code got stuck together and I moved one too many files and couldn’t Undo. So I decided to do what many writers find extremely satisfying – I hit the delete button. This is usually only safely satisfying if you back up to the nines the way I tend to do 😉 which allows you the pleasure of vindictive, masochistic deletion coupled with the knowledge that you can Undo if you really need to.

I’m now slowly moving all 300 of the pages that used to be on HearWriteNow into the new WordPress powered site. And this is deeply satisfying too – paring down all that bloated FrontPage code and simplifying and reorganising my site. It’s like starting a spring clean and finishing by tearing down the house and rebuilding. But it’s not as drastic as it sounds if the place needed rewiring and a plumbing upgrade and a little poking around revealed termites and borer lurking in the walls…

It works in fiction too. Try deleting a character. Go ahead; run some scenes through your head without him and watch your brain begin to sew up the holes that have appeared in the plot. Sometimes you can come up with a better story this way. Give it a try next time you feel stuck. If you back up you can always press Undo.


Elle Carter Neal

Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and the teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, holding childhood slumber-party audiences entranced until the early hours of the morning. Elle decided to be an author the day she discovered that real people wrote books and that writing books was a real job. Join Elle on her new publishing adventure.

  2 Responses to “Delightful Deletions”

Comments (2)
  1. Oh, I am with you all the way on this one. Deleting is so satisfying. My hand often hovers over that key. It is the ultimate in fresh starts. I look forward to the new site!

  2. Funnily enough, just after I wrote, boastfully, about how well I back up WordPress served me a broken copy of the theme update and I discovered what I hadn’t backed up: everything I’d uploaded since the deletion! Luckily all I had to do was replace the corrupt theme files and I was up and running again, but it was a “good” reminder: back up, back up, back up!

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