Facts About Revision

Revising is like an Easter egg hunt, except the eggs you are looking for are rotten and are ruining the lawn. They can be hard to spot but everything is  better when they are gone from the landscape.

Revising is like chipping a statue out of marble using finer and finer tools until finally it shines.

Revising is shaping a lump of clay into something cool like a mug or a bowl or a cat or a set of characters that take on personalities  of their own and do things on their own and lead you places you didn’t know you invented but you did.

When I revised How to Be Manly before sending it off to Giant Squid Books, I had forgotten what happened towards the end because I hadn’t looked at it in over a year. It was cool to be in suspense when reading my own story. Strange but cool.

While revising, I notice that two or three words or phrases show up on almost every page. These repeaters are different in every story but they are always there. They are hard to see and I need someone else to point them out to me. This is one reason why a good editor is made of gold and magic.

We are lucky that only writing is like writing where editors are necessary to notice the obvious things that writers miss.  What if house builders needed editors to notice that the walls are sound and the floors beautiful, but the roof has a big hole in it?  What if surgeons needed editors to tell them that while the stitches ae nice and even, the doctor left a toaster in the patient’s abdominal cavity?  What if car makers put in too many seats but not enough brakes?

Revision is cutting off split ends, planing away killer splinters, shining blackened silver, clearing the clutter, pruning the roses, raking the leaves, weaving straw into gold.

Palomino Blackwing 602, the best pencil ever. It’s all about the square ferule, baby. Square ferule.

One Comment

  1. I totally agree with you one hundred percent!


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