REVISION IS AN EIGHT LETTER WORD . . and that equals two four letter words.

The dictionary says that to revise means to reconsider and alter, and I guess that that is what I’ve been doing.

(Have I ever mentioned Jasper Fforde in any of my posts? (I can hear groaning and moaning. What? I’ve mentioned him before? Too often? Sorry). In one of his Thursday Next books he goes into a long riff about the use of ‘that that’. Totally hilarious. But not to digress from an unsavory topic to a more pleasant one. Oh, no. Never that.)

I find myself revising my cozy- again. This time there’s a plan. I will go over it twice, perfect the first page and write a log-line. Then I will pitch it to whoever is (un)fortunate enough to be in my sights at the Maine Crime Writer’s Crime Bake in November.

That’s two revisions by November. The beginning of November. I think I can do it.

A long time ago I submitted to this post a triangle which delineated the hierarchy of revision. I thought it was a great plan. I need to dig it out and put it to good use. I need to put a lot of ideas to good use. I need help.

At our last Thursday evening’s group therapy, writer’s weekly critique, admonition, encouragement and jam and cookie session, the most horrible plan I had ever heard of, in regard to revision, was put forth. I didn’t say so at the time, but I was horror struck. This revision entailed putting aside your first (second, third, fourth, whatever) draft, let it rest, and then rewrite it without availing yourself of the benefit of whatever written draft you had just written! Rewrite blindly from scratch! Have you ever? One would have to be mad.

Maybe this works for some writers. I’m willing to bet they’re short story writers. And I bet that that (!!!) method wasn’t one of the levels on the hierarchy of revision triangle.

I’d be willing to try it on a short story. A short short story. Maybe flash fiction. An e-mail that disappeared before one’s very eyes, before send was hit, now that’s the place to try it. Actually, that has happened, and I think the resulting e-mail was worded a lot better than the first.

So, there are methods and there are methods, and they all lead to some form of madness. As the Cheshire Cat once said to Alice when she remarked she didn’t want to go among mad people:

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad,” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Here is where I am now. In the middle of a muddle of revision.

About Eleanor Ingbretson

Native New Yorker. Transplanted to New Hampshire years ago, but still considered a flatlander by the neighbors. Writer of fantasy and mystery and whatever else takes my fancy.

Posted on June 6, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more, Eleanor! The only time I would want to take that horrid approach to revision would be if my original version went missing, as with the email that disappears right before your eyes. Other than that, well, I shudder to even think of how I would keep my hands off the last draft.


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