Monday, July 12, 2010


Re-Vision:  Seeing Again.

I'm reading an old college writing book (1995), but it still has lots of merit.  The Craft of Revision by Donald Murray, in its second edition, contains the following chapters.

  1. Write to Re-Write
  2. Read to Re-Write
  3. Re-Write to Write
  4. Re-Write to Focus
  5. Re-Write to Collect
  6. Re-Write to Shape
  7. Re-Write to Order
  8. Re-Write to Develop
  9. Re-Write with Voice
  10. Re-Write to Edit
  11. Afterword:  Re-Write Yourself
It contains lots of case histories, exercises, and detailed examples of how to revise, down to the paragraph, line, and word.  Upon picking this book up again, I read something in the prologue that resonated with me:
First readings by the student writer, the instructor, and classmates should focus on potential, not error.
I think this is sometimes easier said than done, but should try to be implemented each time we read a new manuscript.  I think anyone that wants to write, has a passion for it, has a good story to tell, can write well, IF they can also revise.  Revision is so important to good writing because no one can always (if ever) make the first draft perfect.  Re-read last month's quote, which goes right along with today's message.  The first reading/critique should focus on potential, the big picture of the story, possibilities of what could be.  Later on,  there will be time for worrying over the minute (but also very important) details of sentence structure and word choice.  We all have potential, and so do (most of) our stories.  There's always that one that we just can't seem to make work no matter how hard we try.

Happy writing and keep on keepin' on!


  1. I love that quote - and it's so true. Almost all first drafts are pretty yucky, but so many times there's the kernel of a great idea in there that needs to be nurtured and polished. Thanks for sharing!

  2. If it weren't for all our great ideas, we wouldn't have any fun writing those first drafts. Who care's if they're yucky, right? We're writers. Revision is expected. It's fun, too.


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