Fatherhood, Not Elephants

I was writing an essay last week about fatherhood. (College essay prompt: write about a cause important to you.) Or, at least, in my head, I was writing an essay about fatherhood.

On paper, I was writing about elephants.

See, I was using the story of orphaned elephants in South Africa as part of the essay. {Nothing captures the eye like an essay about elephants, right? Besides, it's an amazing story.}

But the essay only has to be about a page long. {And as long-winded as I am, I don't intend to take advantage of the four pages allowed.} And the elephant story was taking up three-fourths of the page.

My topic was fatherhood, not elephants.

Which meant I had to scrap a page worth's of information about orphaned elephants in South Africa and condense it down to two paragraphs. Which was hard. I lost a lot of cool information, cool observations from the guy who had lived on the reserve adjacent to the problem reserve {orphaned elephants cause problems} and had his own elephant problems and stories.

I had to take it all out. But the essay - now a finished rough draft - is so much better for it! It's about fathers instead of elephants! Not that elephants couldn't be a great topic for a cause essay, but elephants, as awesome as they are, are not my cause. {Everyone is given different causes, I think, so that together we can all change the world.}

This has got to have a writing application somewhere. And I think that application comes in the form of little darlings. Darlings are great things, great pieces of backstory and dialogue and character development that sometimes must be cut in light of the greater story. It's sad. I had to cut a car chase.

It was a good car chase, too. I was very proud of that car chase. I wrote a blog post about it. {Scratch that. I meant to write a blog post about it. I did write a blog post about a car chase, but it wasn't mine.}

But I had to pull it. Because it took place in Austin, and I took out everything that happened in Austin, because the story changed, and I pulled out characters {Hilary! Cinderella! Bobby! Ali! I'll bring you back sometime!}, scenes {Jenn lied to a cop; she was really good at it, Clayton was not}, and a beautiful car chase.

Thing is - the story I have now, the story I'm querying...that story doesn't miss it. At all. I read it, and not one part of the story begs for anything I took out.

Just like my fatherhood essay doesn't miss all the extra information about elephants.

Just like I could probably scratch about half of this blog post. I think this is a moment of "do as I do."

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