The Wonderful Stink of Revision

Did you read it?

No, not yesterday’s post; did you read something of yours? How was it?

Don’t tell me you’re not done reading it yet; you were supposed to pick something short.

And don’t tell me you didn’t have time; that’s your lack-of-grooveness talking. Make time. Read it while your significant other is doing a frame-by-frame live Tweeting of Lost or something. Time enough to accomplish The Reading exists, it’s just in the wrong box right now. Go get it.

So whadja think?

Needs some work, dunnit?

Good.

You’re gonna revise that sucker.

I know, I know: you’re out of the Groove. I’m saying “You need to revise,” and you’re all like:

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Keep it simple. Have some clear technical goals in mind.

  • Find the spots where the story doesn’t seem to go into a scene long enough or far enough. Take it the rest of the way.
  • Fine the spots where your voice is muddied and indistinct. Clarify it. Clean things up. This is probably something you wrote awhile back, and you’ve learned stuff since then, so make use of it.
  • Kill adverbs. Rewrite the sentence so that you’re saying the same thing with better words.
  • The one scene that doesn’t seem to do anything? Take it out. This is your acid test revision: no less than 10% of the original text should hit the cutting room floor.

That’s the official list of goals.

But what you’re really doing is getting down in the muck, up to the neck, in your own writing. In you. Wallowing in the glory of your own wonderful stink.

That is your method, and it’s also your true purpose in this little endeavor. Yes, doing the revision will be nice, but your real goal here is to remind yourself why you like playing with words, and what all your favorite toys feel like.

Wallow. Get the mud in deep. Oink oink.

As a show of solidarity, I’m going to do a little public wallowing for the next week or so. My particular mud bath will be a short story I wrote a few years back called Vayland Rd. It’s a peculiar little thing I wrote as part of a 24-hour blogathon, so it’s about 7 tenths inspiration and 5 eighths exhaustion, but it came from a good place, I like the characters, and the story’s important to me.

As I revise, I’ll post a chunk of the yarn up here every day, so you all get something to read in between your own wallow sessions. Sound good?

Hope so, cuz it’s the best deal you’re gonna get.

Now get back to your wallowing.

Oink.

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