|The author, Dane F. Baylis|
YOU'RE A WRITER?
Are You Sure About the Terminology?
I don't know about you, but lately I've been taking a long, hard look at that title. Am I a writer? I do write...A LOT...and I send most of what I've written out for consideration. Sometimes I get lucky and something passes muster, more often I don't and my chicken comes home to roost.
What happens next? I could stick it in a folder as a failure and move on to something else. It's not like I'm running out of things to write about. Or, I could take a look at what just came back and ask myself, "Can I make this better?" If you can look at something you've written and honestly answer that question with, "No", my hat's off to you.
Nothing goes out my door that hasn't been re-written and re-vised at least three times. A first draft is...well, a first draft. It's just the idea in rough form. Revision #1 is to knock the stuffing out of this bloated piece of prose or poetry and see what it's made of. I strip out any word that isn't essential to the idea I'm conveying.This can leave a good starting point for revision two, but at times it can also reveal those gems in the dung heap that all the verbiage was covering over.
Revision #2 is where I sit for long periods staring at the monitor mumbling. Mostly I'm trying out different ways of saying what I'm trying to get across. Other times I'm trying to find the impact in the story. Those words or phrases that are going to say more with less. Sometimes I'm just wondering if I should maybe ask for my letter of resignation back?
Revision #3 is where I read the thing out loud and judge its flow. Is it smooth to the ear? What might seem smooth in your thoughts quite often doesn't sound that way when you give it voice. Your reader will find those spots right away and stumble over them like uneven pavement.
I'm always looking for a 'good enough' point. That point where it is time to put the thing in an envelope or hit the send key and get it off my desk. Like I said, sometimes I can get lucky. If not, then I revise and rewrite...again. Nothing gets back off my desk until I've looked at it and gone through the same process I use for a new work. It often won't take as long but there is always something that can be improved.
So, I guess I'd have to say, no I'm not a writer. I am a re-writer and re-viser. It's all part of the craft of writing and, I'm sorry to say, one that's often getting ignored.There were two hundred and fifty thousand more e-works published last year than there were physical books. Most of these were self-published and too many of them showed that their authors were not re-writers. You can't expect to gain respect as a writer until you can show you've mastered your art AND craft.
Remember, the cream floats to the top. Everything else is pretty cheesy.
Meanwhile...live, love, write.
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Dane F. Baylis. Author.