Monday, October 10, 2011

FM Merry Go Round Tour Topic: Revision

First, my apologies for my late post on the Merry-Go-Round-Blog-Tour.  The holiday weekend got away from me and I completely forgot that the 10th of the month was my day to write.  Ack!

So here are my thoughts on revision. 

It may make me an odd duck amongst my writing friends, but I absolutely love the revision process.  For me, most of the pain is in the first draft.  No matter what I've tried to do for organization, from full on outlining to seat of my pants plotting, to somewhere in between, the initial draft always runs into problems. 

Sometimes it's not trusting the reader.  Sometimes it's not capturing the characters' voices fully enough.  Sometimes it's plot holes.  Sometimes it's pacing.

No matter what the issue is, I know I can tackle it in the revision.  There's a precision and an elegance to revising that's rarely there for me on the first draft.  I'm also an amateur potter, so I can use a pottery analogy:

First drafts are centering and pulling up the clay walls into the rough shape of what you want the piece to be.

Revision is the shaping pulls and the trimming process. The place where your vision of what the clay can be comes into tangible reality.

I am a serviceable writer, but I am a really dedicated and hard working re-writer.  If you ask my critique partners, they might tell you that I am a glutton for punishment, aka, really strong no-holds-barred crit.  Yes, that's true.  Except that I don't see it as punishment.  I see it as re (again) vision (seeing).  To see my story through the eyes of a reader and understand what works and doesn't work to tell that story is a gift beyond measure.  It is through the gift of that vision that I can return to a messy draft and craft something cohesive and whole from it.

That doesn't mean changing everything someone comments on.  It does mean analyzing patterns in the writing to find the places that lack clarity and improve them.

Right now, I'm slogging through the first draft of the YAGSIP (YA ghost story in progress).  The writing is going reasonably well, but I've run into a plot snag.  How do I know this?  I would rather edit something else then open the file for the new story.  But I will forge ahead, comforting myself with knowing that no matter how terrible the words that land on the page are today, they will be vastly improved and sharpened when I wrap my editing/revision brain around them. 

Happy re/vision, all!

Check out the revision thoughts of my fellow FMWriters here, where you will find a list of all the tour participants and links to their individual blogs.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree - and I too love revising. I'm seeking the Holy Grail of revision - can't wait to find it. :D