"I'm not alone when I'm writing - the language itself, like a kind of trampoline, is there helping me." ~ William Stafford
(Photo from Super Tramp trampolines)
As we are all sometimes painfully aware, writing = revision. Today I thought I'd provide some revision, trouble-shooting symptoms and prescriptions, all taken (and slightly adapted) from Barry Lane's, After The End. (Enjoy his humorous Latin terms - they crack me up!)
1. Delusions of First-Draft Grandeur (Reluctant Revisititus - Latin)
Symptoms: Writer feels no need to revise any of his writing except to spell words correctly. Writer's eyes glaze over when the word revision is mentioned.
Prescription: Know that writing is revision; use leads and details to find new angles; explode moments. Understand that it may not be time to revise yet. Let it sit. Know that it doesn't have to be written over to be revised. Before any revisions are made, praise and enjoy what there is.
2. Dialogue-arhea (Looses-lipsus - Latin)
Symptoms: Writing suffers from an excess of flat dialogue that doesn't move the story along.
Prescription: Replace some dialogue with exposition and add snapshot-quality details to make real scenes.
3. Bouts of Vagueness
Symptom: Writing gets vague in places for no apparent reason.
Prescription: Determine if the vagueness is a result of missing details or an unsure purpose. Vagueness is often a necessary stage for writers who are exploring uncertain territory.
4. Uncut Words (Editophobia / Editomalaise - Latin)
Symptoms: Writer is afraid to edit her own work or is bored with editing.
Prescription: Find ways to make editing both routine and fun.
Other great revision tips from Barry (for yourself or when critiquing the work of others):
- Be more interested in what is NOT on the paper
- Never be afraid to be critical. Know when to be a tough editor and when to be a nurturing reader.
- Remember that too much unqualified praise can be as damaging to a writer as flat rejection.
- Never tell a writer a paper is done. Always point out more suggestions for revision.
What are some revision tips you can add?