Sunday, October 12, 2014

revising vs polishing

The word "revision" is known to strike fear and loathing into the writer's heart. It sometimes means cutting out a beautifully written scene for no better reason than that it simply isn't necessary. Unless it advances the story or increases the conflict, we're told to get rid of it. That, of course, affects our word count so we have to replace it with something better.

But, what if we've already done the best we can. Then what? It can be downright frustrating.

Revision can be a slow, painful process.


I'm in the process of revising a non-fiction manuscript right now. In my first draft I said pretty much everything I wanted to say on the subject. The problem is that it isn't very well organized. There isn't a clear thread that connects the dots. So, a lot of what I'm doing involves rearranging paragraphs, even switching around entire chapters. I've been hard at work on it for weeks.

I keep reminding myself that once I finish this round of revisions, the fun part begins: polishing it!

There's a  big difference between revising and polishing a manuscript. By polishing I don't mean simply correcting grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I mean looking at it with an open mind--open to clearer images and crisper dialogue, to language and rhythm. It means looking for loftier ways to engage the reader, touch his heart, and kindle his emotions. It's the part of the process that is fun for me, one last fling with creativity and invention...

Featured Friday: Steaming Into Print last chance to get it right.

Which do you enjoy more: writing the first draft, revising it, or polishing it?
"Writing without revising
is the literary equivalent
of waltzing gaily out of the house
in your underwear."
~Patricia Fuller~
Mother nature is having a blast this year. Autumn has been spectacular. I wonder when she'll pack up her palette and paints and head south for the winter.

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