The Revision Stage

Before

Although in my younger days I preached the necessity of rewriting after the euphoria of finishing a first draft, I did not go tripping lightly to undertake that chore. I went dragging my feet and procrastinating. Some attitudes do change with age and I have experienced an attitude adjustment over the years toward revising, editing and proofreading. No longer is it the necessary, but onerous stage. I jump into revision with more gusto as if I were cleaning out messy closets, jumbled with old clothes and shoes I haven’t worn in years, dumping them gleefully into a trash bag. I feel the same zeal throwing out wrong words, lackluster prose, awkward construction, straightening and polishing all my verbal disarray as I do with discarding the junk in the closet.  Closets need rearranging and so do sentences and paragraphs,  scenes and sections of dialogue. This is no longer work for me but play.

The tapes of our mothers play in our head long after they have died. This one, A place for everything and everything in its place, plays for me whenever I clean out the closet or finish revising a piece of writing. Some tasks we do because we have to and some tasks because we love to do them. The transition from disliking revision to loving it was subtle, unconscious, built up through time and habit just as my awareness grew as I aged that I had absorbed the repeated refrains of my mother until they no longer rang like the stale wisdom of my elders.

After

As I revise my latest novel, The Wheels of Being, I marvel at how revision has now become my favorite stage in the writing process. I am on a search and destroy mission to root out any weak element. Aha, I found a clunky word!  Kill it. This is a muddled passage. Clarify. Expand. Smooth.  This is worn out; this has a hole in it. Trash or patch, which one? I am really enjoying this stage. After all these years, am I finally practicing what I preach? It seems so. Even better, I am thoroughly enjoying it. It feels like a walk in the woods or riding a bike. It’s fun!

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One response to this post.

  1. Wow! your closet looks great!

    Reply

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