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Revision: An Almost Obscenely Brief Overview “Inspiration” is a very funny thing.
, the nature of the class shifted and we went into workshop mode.
Since we’re now reading student work and not publicly available work, it doesn’t leave me with a whole lot to share.
You yourself probably have very little concept of what you are writing or why.
If the writing is in some regard drawn from life—as most art is—you may not yet know whether you mean to stay true to your experience, or fictionalize it, or—if the latter—in what ways.
The “lecture,” such as it is, runs just about 2000 words, and it doesn’t attempt to be in any sense comprehensive.
It is intended for an audience of beginning writing students, some of whom may be encountering the concepts of editing and revision for the first time. The first part discusses how–and if–to develop material from in-class exercises (and/or free-writes) into workable and work-with-able drafts.
You may simply be laying words and thoughts down on a page, unsure even whether you are writing prose or poetry, or something else altogether.
Is this something you’ll want to share with people, or is it strictly private, for your eyes alone?
So you write and you write, and you wind up with—something. Any good writer has a file somewhere filled with all their abandoned and aborted first drafts—all the stuff that seemed like it was worth attempting but then later turned out to not be.
A mess, probably, but maybe one with some genuine promise. If the writer doesn’t have this, it’s either because (1) s/he is a heaven-sent Genius, (2) s/he is a hack with no self-editing skills and no sense, or else (3) s/he burned the file up in an oil drum by the highway and scattered the ashes in the sea, like you’re supposed to. You’ve got this piece, and you think it’s pretty good, or anyway you think it could be pretty good. The first thing you want to do is re-read what you’ve written.