Wednesday, June 19, 2013

On Revision

On Memorial Day weekend I attended a workshop by Lidia Yuknavitch in Port Townsend. It did what I hoped - shook things up and gave me some new perspectives. I know, I've written about this a bit before.

But tonight I was looking through my notes from the workshop and writings from weekend and found some quotes. One stood out.

See, I'm working on the memoir and there was a particular story I want to submit to the writing group. I was looking for a piece of that story I wrote in the Port Townsend workshop - from a new perspective, with new energy.

The Lidia quote I found : "stop th. inking about it as revision, think of it as remaking."

This is what I'm doing. Revising. But I like thinking of it as remaking. Because what I've realized is that my revision is, truly, rewriting. Some things will be kept. But much it may be scrapped down to the bones - the backbone, perhaps, of the story. More than a simple outline and maybe not much more.

But I've realized that to get to the energy of the story - to get to the heart of the story - some of it needs more than just revision. It needs, as Lidia named it, remaking.

I've also heard that a writer should be prepared (sometimes?) to throw out the entire draft. Recently I was talking to someone who completed an MFA not too long ago and she said the most important thing she learned was that you have to throw the first book out and start over. Wow.

So that's where I am. Maybe not throw it all out. But trim it down and maybe cut it out and paste it into a storyboard. Put it with the throughline from the weekend. And remake it, word by word.

Daunting? A little. But I know this is what I need to do.