Friday, October 25, 2013

Revising/Rewriting

     It's October, and time for revision. I write new pieces––poetry, short stories, or essays through the year. I tweak these pieces through the year. Come November, I dedicate myself to major rewrites on pieces I want to submit to literary journals or competitions in the new year.
     Every year at this time, I bring out the Revising Checklist. I examine a piece's introduction, and its content. I look at the organization for transitions, emphasis, and its conclusion. Style, by way of similes, metaphors, concrete language, repetition and clutter is scrutinized. The same for the mechanics of the piece––punctuation, word and verb usage, and spelling. Revising takes time. It requires getting the words right. It involves more than just correcting errors. It can mean shortening, lengthening, changing or substituting, and in all honesty, it's a messy and frustrating affair. Paper clutter on the floor? Sometimes. Desktop/file overload? Absolutely.


     In revision, I try to make my writing as clear, smooth, and interesting as I can. I must do it. It is in my best interest to revise or rewrite until the cows come home, and every year at this time, I sigh.

Revise ~  verb  1. to look over again in order to correct or improve  2. to make a new, amended, improved, or up-to-date version
Rewrite  verb  1. to make a revision  2. to revise something previously written
     
     All good writers revise. All good writers rewrite. Rewriting is an essential part of composing, and in the end it can be the most rewarding part. 

To wit:
- The pleasure is the rewriting.     Joyce Carol Oates 
- If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.    Elmore Leonard
I'm all for the scissors. I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil.   Truman Capote
- I have rewritten––often several times––every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their        erasers.    Vladimir Nabokov

So, tell me do you think revision is important to your writing? What is your modus operandi for revising/rewriting your stories, essays, or poem? What steps do you use to make your work become the best that it can be? As always, I love hearing from you.