Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Fog of Revision

I don't know how it is for other writers, but for me, there comes a moment in every new draft of a book where everything just begins to run together, and every sentence appears equally good, or more likely, equally bad, and no edits make any sense anymore. One's ability to make simple decisions begins to wane, and the infinte number of possible arrangements for a given sentence all present themselves at once, and suddenly the entire concept of expressing oneself via the written word seems deeply flawed, on account of its horrible imprecision.

That's where I am right now, with this novel I'm writing, and I actually feel it's going well. I had been planning on posting yesterday--it was officially my turn--but shirked my duty, as the task felt akin to doing brain surgery with a broadsword. In fact, I can't believe this post has lasted so long! Does this make any sense? Hello? Is this thing on?

While I have you, let me refer you to an article posted in a recent comment by Amy Palko--it's from The Guardian and is about a 92-year-old man who is only now learning to type. I've added Amy's blog to our roll--thanks for the tip! She's presently got a post up featuring paintings of women reading, hubba hubba.

5 comments:

Amy Palko said...

Thanks for the mention! Glad you liked the article - I thought it just said so much about the shift in writing practices over the last century. Fermor really impresses me, particularly with his willingness to learn something new, at a time of life where a lot of people have become reluctant to approach a new skill.

wing said...

Do you have an editor as well? Does your wife also look over your manuscripts? Does that make it harder or easier on you when it comes to this fog of revision?

jrlennon said...

Yeah, Rhian reads my stuff, and also Ed, our sometimes-guest poster. And a couple of other writer friends. I don't have an editor right now because I don't have a publisher...but if the book sells, that's part of the equation.

The "finished" novel is now in R's hands...

wing said...

Do you ever look back on an already published work of yours and go into revisionist mode, still thinking about how you could improve this and that? Or do you let it be? I'm just curious.

jrlennon said...

Oh God no....I'd go mad. Mad, I say!!! Like as in Henry James mad.