Tag Archives: Drafting

What kind of reviser are you?

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I think what I appreciated most about Trent Lee Stewart’s visit to UCA last week was his humility and the way this humility underscored that there is no one way to be a writer, that it’s about finding out what process works for you. 

This was most evident when he talked about drafting.  He says he labors over his first drafts so that when they’re finished, they’re more or less finished, requiring just a little tweaking.   He doesn’t enjoy subsequent revision because of the amount of time he puts into those first drafts (given the time element, I wouldn’t then call them first drafts but that’s another story).   But then he went on to add that he knows lots of writers for whom revision is the whole point and writing the draft is agony.

That would be me.  Sure, there are times when the “flow” is going pretty well in the drafting process, but most of the time, first drafts really are the hardest parts for me.  I just can’t WAIT to get to the point of revising, tinkering, tinkering, tinkering.  This makes novel writing, which I’m in the midst of, hard because the first draft seems to go on forever and I’m just dying to get to the revision.   The fun, “phew, the basic creation is done,” part when I can fuss over words and sentences and, in the relaxation of revising, get all sorts of new ideas to enrich the writing along the way.  Your basic carrot at the end of the stick.

I’ve tried the “revising as you go along” thing but it just doesn’t work for me.  When I do that, I end up obsessing so much that I revise the same three pages for weeks and totally lose track of the story itself.  Definitely a no-no when you’re working on a novel.  Gotta keep the big picture in view.

So, at this point in your writing life, what kind of reviser of you?

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The Beautiful Typewriter

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I have been made aware of quite a lot of debate these days about the usefulness of typewriters for drafting and to be honest, it keys (hee, hee, pun intended) right in with my discussion about recognizing the value of mistakes and risk taking as crucial to the writing process, something drafting on a computer cannot capture. My good friend and writer Monda Fason discusses this on her blog, which she has actually posted in typewritten form here.

The above Italian typewriter, photgraphed in the design exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art when the guard wasn’t looking (not supposed to take photos there, apparently) is also in homage to her.

 Her friend, the Kentucky Typewriterman also has some eloquent words to say about this on his ebay site, where he sells lovingly refurbished typewriters for much less than it actually costs him to refurbish them. He is also a writer and a writing teacher. Read what he has to say about typwriters and drafting here (keep scrolling once you get there the whole listing, though ended, is worth reading). You’ll also get a look at another lovely example of design.

I have a beautiful, meticulously maintained (not by me) old Underwood in my office. I may have to go see if I can find some ribbon for it now!

Go, search for typewriters at Church thrift stores and flea markets and yard sales or on ebay! Godspeed!

Bye y’all,
SV

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