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On Knowing When You’re Done Revising

In my poetry class, someone asked, “How do you know if a poem is done? Like, how do you know when to stop revising?”

In answer, my professor showed us this:

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It was a page in a poetry book that she’d had signed by the author and when she’d handed her copy to him he was like “ahhhhh I can’t stand it” and wrote in the printed copy of the book to change his poem to what he wanted it to be

So I guess the answer is “never.”

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I’m not going to claim to know what the heck I’m doing here. This is the first story that has even gotten this far.

I’m just a little proud/baffled at the method I’m going to attempt to do. Maybe this is just a rant, but if it helps anyone by thinking it might work for them, or maybe at least eliminate a way they think will definitely NOT work for them. Any way it goes, I figure it can’t be too bad.

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Jun 22, 2016 - To revise your writing, you need to see it through the eyes of a reader — a stranger to the text instead of the creator. Here’s one recipe for …
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Jul 3, 2019 - "Read your own prose aloud and with emphasis—or better still, have a friend read it to you” (Richard Lanham, Revising Prose, 1979).
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this past week i have been struggling so much with a lack of motivation for education, and self-care. i haven’t been catching up on my lectures properly, an i have been watching so many ‘productive’ YouTubers to motivate me but instead just ends up in me feeling worse about myself.

i have had a super bad cold, and rough period pains too :( but i know that even without those, i am still super unproductive, and i’m just hating it right now. 

i hope that the next time i update you all will i will be in a much better headspace <33

see you then! 

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Revising a book is so weird. Like sure you’re changing stuff and replacing stuff with other stuff and it makes sense that it would be weird but like. When you’re building up the emotional arc of a book and messing with the *vibes* or suggestions from scenes, or if you have to deal in any way with subtext, it’s wild how different you can make things by moving something a bit to the left.

And it’s also wild how, by actually pulling off the scene like you originally intended, you change its meaning in a way that doesn’t fit the way your brain kind of adapted the rest of the story.

like I’m talking “this scene that used to be kind of a relaxing low tension point, and that seemed suggestive and definitely built major sexual tension between two characters, is now a harrowing exploration of my protagonist’s relationship with his body and how his trauma has affected him and what is happening to him in the scene is obviously triggering him” and I don’t know what to do with this information

The content of the scene didn’t change much at all, just the stuff around it and the wording basically

I want a LITTLE sexual tension though. As a treat.

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[02/02/2020] ~{7/100}~

Happy Palindrome day, it’s been a whole week of 100 days of productivity!

Today I:

  • Looked over Linguistics readings
  • Studied a couple Classics Lectures for upcoming midterms

I plan to finish all readings tomorrow before and after class, so I’m gonna try to get a good night’s sleep!

I completely forgot I bought this mug full of Shakespearean insults on a trip to Stratford, Ontario to see a play! I love tea, and it made me even happier to get to drink it in this nerdy mug 😂

Wishing everyone a great, productive week,

Andrea

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On First Drafts, Revising, Second Drafts, and Tumblr Tips

So I’m never here on tumblr anymore, yeah. I’ve been focusing pretty heavily on school and, of course, revising my first draft into a second draft. I’ve read so many posts on first drafts and how to fix them, and they all seem to say much of the same thing: first drafts suck, they’re garbage, and that’s okay, rewrite it. Cut the fat, shorten your story, get rid of everything and start new.

Which is great advice! Of course! That strategy works wonders for so many people and I would never ever say any of that is wrong. But sometimes we hear so much about first drafts being awful, but… what if we actually like our first draft??

You’re absolutely going to have to change things to that first draft, but what if you reread and you look back at your work and you don’t hate it, you actually think you did pretty damn good? THIS IS OKAY!!

We talk so much about hating first drafts so we can all understand that it’s okay, first drafts are shitty, and you think that that is how it has to be. You look at your first draft that doesn’t completely suck, that you’re proud of, and you can’t help but think anyway “this is so shitty” because that’s how it “has” to be.

Tumblr makes excellent points but please know that you’re allowed to like your first draft. You’re allowed to like your writing in it and keep all those sections that you think your talent really shined. It won’t be perfect, no, but sometimes people DO get things right the first time, and you’re allowed to look at your first draft and decide parts of it are exactly as you want them to be. Edit honestly, and recognize when things are bad AND when they’re great.

Here’s to being proud of first drafts!

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