Friday, May 27, 2011

Revising Is Less Fun Than Writing

I get the importance of revision and I enjoy the shaping and reshaping, the correcting and embellishing. In no way, though, is it as fun as pure writing, as sitting down at the blank page and letting the writing come.

This week, during my revision work on Another Blade of Grass, I need to add a scene. I needed to dip back into Darren adolescence to lay the ground work for particular attitudes he portrays in the novel's present. And as I began writing, the world around me disappeared and I was sucked in. The words came. I discovered new things. Darren's eyes are hazel. I didn't know that before this week.

It happened again when I wrote an additional scene for one of Nicole's chapters. I needed to go back and establish the strength of her first love. We needed to see them in a way that was more detailed, more illustrative than just seeing her thinking about or remembering how she felt. Then, in creating that scene, winter outside, the two of them holed up in their small apartment devouring poetry, the right words came. Without real conscious effort came the terms to describe the strength of that love and why it still has an effect on her. This probably never would have happened if I were just scrawling with my blue pen in the manuscript's margins. It came from writing, from making my way down the blank page.

It is the creative process, the "creation", that makes me feel like myself. Revising, by itself, leaves me feeling out of sorts. Revision is simply not as fun as pure writing. I have much more of it to do, though. As long as I can mix in this sort of blank-page writing, it will seem less like work.

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