• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Does It Ever Drive You Crazy Just How Fast the Night Changes

I’m in deep in the revision process and I apologize for not checking in. I’ve gone through the book again, this time printed out and marking it up with my blue pencil. Seeing mistakes, redundancies, too much exposition. Incredible how the screen lies. I thought I was very close to being done, but reading the book on paper has made me aware of continuity issues I missed, superfluous scenes, the need to turn exposition into scenes, calibrating characters and their motivations, finding active verbs, but not too active. Making a simile better, a metaphor more apt. Reeling it in and going more wild. Finding the hard nut and the tender center. And the gleeful, merciless killing of darlings.

What’s your revision process?

photo: The Cincinnati Review

10 Responses

  1. I start with paper drafts then type into computer. Then print out hard copy and read it out loud. Then retype into computer and start again. I love rewriting and editing. Good thing, I suppose.

  2. On-paper, with as many pages as possible spread out together, side by side by side. Takes a very long table or several folding tables. And bar charts are very helpful. Gee, 40% is exposition? That’s gonna need work.

  3. You mentioned redundancies. That’s one of my main issues. I tend to write without a filter, stream of consciousness, and just keep moving on then clean up the mess later. Ten pages can go down to five upon review.

  4. The screen does lie. I have to print it out, mark it up, and put it in the computer. Then I do that again in case I missed anything that should have been changed because of my changes. I find this the most exciting part: winnowing a mms down to its essence.

  5. ‘Incredible how the screen lies.’ – Oh yes. Print, edit, repeat.

  6. I am a saccade. Not only does the screen lie. I lie too. I’ve got to find the middle ground between apocalypse and just giving up. Usually, I favour the latter.

  7. Every word becomes a universe. I angst. I sweat blood. A never ending process. Then kill some. But must spit it out on paper. That’s where it telltales. Black and white on the page.

  8. Carve carefully. READ OUT LOUD !!! Rinse and repeat.

  9. “What’s your revision process?”

    It’s constant. It’s a blessing to finally get something published and not have to look at it again with the revising eye. In fact, I rarely again look at something I’ve written after it’s published. I have published stories that I could not tell you what they were about, as I have forgotten.

    Back to the question: What is my revision process? Printing hard copy and revising from that is still the gold standard. But I rarely do it these days. It doesn’t seem so necessary with short stories. With books, I don’t see how to escape it, but I haven’t finished a book in years. I’ve stopped trying to market my books, anyhow. Have I quit? Have I given up? I don’t know. I am tired, oh so weary. I could sleep for a thousand years …

    I have been working on a book these past three years. It has been a strange voyage. A slow boat to a new land. Signs of approaching coast have been detected from lookout in the crow’s nest. Last night as I was drifting off on the nightly voyage through the strange, ephemeral Sea of Nod, I was thinking about my book and how to wrap it up. Revision Process in Bed, we’ve all been there. There are a few scenes I know I want to keep as I pull the ending together. Thought about them and how to tie them all together and wrap the matter up. Went over the draft this morning and saw that the carnage must begin. There are many darlings to be slain. I cannot cackle with glee. Too many darlings already have died. Well, what has to be done has to be done. That’s that. Doctor, if we’re going to save the patient, that leg must go.

  10. What looks good on screen looks entirely different printed out. What’s printed and read out loud sounds entirely different than what you see before you.

    A different way of saying what everyone else has said – revisions for me are print, read, then groan. Back to the drawing board.

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