Death by Revision

Nightmare to read if you're not the writer and sometimes even if you are!

Before you judge or scream in agreement, hear me out. For my entire life, I have walked the unorthodox path of revising as you go. I was told many times (too many to count) that I must brainstorm (writing that down), then come up with a first draft, and continuing on this cycle until I have 15 piles of drafts before the final copy. Now the age of computers came along and made this a slightly more organized process. You can now put all of your drafts in a neat little folder on the computer instead of on your desk.

At the same time, the generation growing up with computers became reliant on things like spell check, delete button, and backspace. Yes, technically we can do that by hand, but there is something liberating about being able to alter your text in a split second. If I were to use none of those my sentences would look horrendour and I would never be able to delete thw words I didn’t want to say…^See!! Backspace is a gift from above bringing endless joys of the modern writer.

wish you had it for everyday life? Sometimes!

To make matters worse, the perfectionist in me doesn’t allow me to wait until I’m done writing a sentence before I’ve figured out another way to write it.  Inventive? Sure.  Efficient? Not really. It doesn’t help one bit that I keep going back over everything I’ve just written rather than moving forward.  I would love to have the dozens of drafts that some writers have stocked up.

So, the process for my short story “Somewhere” is going pretty damn slow. I have revisions from my mentor, a plan for improvements to the story, and not enough time in the day.  The focus of my revisions is on getting inside the head of my characters. But how do I get inside the head of a character who is supposed to be me? I mean, I should know myself, right? Apparently, an alternate version of myself is a lot harder to tap than what I thought.

I have learned so much about my fears and expectations for myself. It’s hard to imagine my life without writing. It opens so many doors for me to discover things about myself. I hope my character develops the more I revise, but I have more hope for my own growth. Writing is definitely the best way to learn about yourself without meaning to.

Happy reading/writing!

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6 Comments

Filed under Idea of the Day

6 responses to “Death by Revision

  1. You’re right about writing to find out more about yourself. If I’m not writing, even if it’s just blogging, I don’t feel complete. As for the revisions, I do tend to revise the little things like spelling as I go. As soon as I see that red line under a word, I stop and fix it. (Spell check is a miracle!) Must be the ‘teacher’ in me!

    I will not edit sentences or paragraphs until the next day or so. When I was writing consistently, (before going back to work) I would spend the mornings writing down everything my muse had told me in my dreams. If I missed a day or two, I would re-read the last chapter to get back into the story and revise a bit along the way, mostly awkward sentences would get a tweak. The rest was left for the final edit, usually after the writers group had a go at it.

    Writing on a computer definitely makes revising easier, considering my first novel was written in pencil on paper, before PCs were readily available (yes, I am that old!). I went through a lot of trees and a lot of erasers! When I cut and pasted something, I literally used scissors and Scotch tape to adhere the changes in the right places. I like my PC – and now, my MAC. I don’t know what I’d do without them! 🙂

    • As much as I enjoy my computer, I ALWAYS start on paper. I write it out, scratch it out, and re-write on paper. Then, once I get to the computer, I can organize my thoughts. I love how the future and the past work with each other sometimes. I am so glad I’m not the only one who appreciates the love of writing on paper. It must live on. We can plant some trees to make up for it 😛

  2. I have a very bad habit of editing as I go. Which is probably why my first draft is only 1 page long…..

    • My novel is at 28 pages because I keep revising it, filling in holes in the plot so far, but I can’t add more onto the end of my writing until I fix all the mistakes in what I’ve written!

  3. Love your blog. It has been a real bright spot in many of my days and I really just wanted you to know that. I know that these awards are going around WordPress maybe too much and that you likely hear all the time about how wonderful you are, but I hope you’ll accept the “versatile blogger” award from me!

    http://offdutymom.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/thank-you/

    • Thank you so much for this award! I will certainly devote another post to receiving another award as well as a dedication to you and your blog because it always makes my day to read your posts. 🙂

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