On Revision

What does revision mean to you? If it means, getting back someone’s notes on your manuscript and going through your document, implementing those changes—a cut there, a move here—and then reaching the end, and shouting, “Finished!,” this may be the workshop for you. I’m going to talk about how (and why) to revise in a much deeper and more involved sense. Even if you are careful in your first draft and fine-tune as you write, a first draft is still just a beginning. When we write a first draft, we are learning about our characters as we write. By the end of the draft, we know so much more about our characters than we did in the beginning. The aim of revision is to bring that higher level of knowledge to bear on the entire manuscript.

Please, if possible, bring to this workshop a piece of work that you are interested in revising—even if you are stuck on how to do it or feel you have reached the end of your rope. This may be a novel chapter, a short story or a shorter piece—even something from an exercise you’ve done this week is more than okay.

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