Revision: Here’s the Chance to Get It Right

May 3, 2017 § 7 Comments


9780399578809Brevity editor Dinty W. Moore is featured this week on Signature-Reads.com, insisting that revision is the most joyful part of writing. His craft piece is excerpted from his new book, The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir, which came out just yesterday.

Here’s an excerpt:

The blank page is a frightening void. An early draft, however, filled with words – all pointing in the right direction, but in need of some tender loving care – can be exhilarating. Words are like clay: you can push them around and make all manner of shapes with them. And clay reminds us of childhood. And childhood reminds us of the time when we were the most playful, most creative, and least haunted by voices telling us we can’t do things well enough.

In other words, you can approach revision with your head low and your shoulders tensed, thinking, “Boy my sentences are so sloppy and wordy, and everything seems slow. All in all, I’m a pathetic failure.”

Or you can approach revision thinking, “Hey, here’s my chance to get it right. Let’s play around.”

Too many areas of life don’t afford you a second chance, but writing does, and you should see that as a good thing.

And here’s a link to the full Signature piece, though Dinty would like everyone to know that he had nothing to do with choosing the accompanying illustration.

 

Tagged:

§ 7 Responses to Revision: Here’s the Chance to Get It Right

  • Jan Priddy says:

    The revision process is a lingering and polishing, and, since surely we can trust Dinty, we should approach is as joyful play capable of the creativity and satisfaction of gathering and rearranging interesting pebbles found on the shore. (And that Signature illustration made me chuckle.)

  • Jason says:

    Honestly think the revision part is more difficult then first draft of any project. Love the ability to get the second chance, just think there is more second guessing changes than the initial thoughts on paper.

  • I agree that the art of writing is in part the art of revision. Part the art? You see, as indeed you do, revision gives us a second look into what we say or have said.

  • well the full Signature piece was a very pleasant read! would “your local editor” offer the same advice if the written piece were shorter than a novel or a memoir or would he suggest a different approach?

  • Karen says:

    Such a balm to read from somewhere deep in this state: “Boy my sentences are so sloppy and wordy, and everything seems slow. All in all, I’m a pathetic failure.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Revision: Here’s the Chance to Get It Right at BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

meta

%d bloggers like this: