Saturday, March 16, 2013


I've said this before, that the real writing begins with the editing of a completed story, of revising, correcting, polishing, and structuring the mess of words that first draft produced.  It isn't getting the bare bones down, the underlying skeleton of a story but more about making the draft into a story.

Of course you are going to do minor edits as you write - bring the hand back to change a word, a sentence, or more.  Some do not do this, preferring to plough along headfirst, often sacrificing logic and sense on the altar of flow.  I tend to dither over a word, a fact, a sentence, and frequently change something already written. Regardless of which method is being followed you finish with a block of text, subdivided into sections, paragraphs, and sentences.

The real editing starts when you revise the structure of the story, putting scenes into their proper order, and generating the logic that brings the story together.  Do not confuse sequence with order - a good story often jumps about chronologically, the better to influence the reader's view.

When the story has the proper sense I try to make the language of the story fit the circumstance.  This is where word choice, lyricism, and rhythm are put into play. These revisions require a sentence by sentence examination, criticism, and adjustment. Here taste matters more and each writer should mind their own muse.

The worst/best revisions leap into my mind in the dark of night; these are the  "I should have said...", "Why not change....", and "Oh God, why did I ever start this ...." thoughts. They occur with disturbing frequency throughout the life of a story, even after submission, always after publication, and never without a wish that I could have written it BETTER.

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