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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Marion Dane Bauer

Must surely be a brilliant woman.
So much of what she writes about writing makes perfect sense.

And her books. Well, I try not to have Writer Envy. But those books. I once knew a student who read ON MY HONOR at least ten times, and that was before Thanksgiving break.

Her website is here:

But what really spoke to me this morning was her BLOGPOST about Revision.

I'll give you a taste of what she says. But really, you must click over there and read it if you're anywhere near this stage in your writing. And don't miss the comments.

The secret of revision for me is to love doing it. The secret is never to look at what I’ve already written and say to myself, “Ugh! That doesn’t work. And now I’m going to have to do it again.” Rather, I begin by looking at what I have before me and loving it. Not loving it in a way that makes it sacred, something too wonderful to be touched. But loving it in a way that says, 'Oh, I like this and this and this about what I have here. Now let me see what I can do to make it even better.'"

And for clarification, there's a difference between revising and polishing. We all love that polishing stage, don't we. And some of us love the true revising part also. 
(It's the coming up with that first draft that kills me- what about you?)

Here's her gem about polishing vs. revision:

I’m talking about revising, not polishing. Most people polish. That’s when you lovingly caress what’s already there, trimming, refining. That’s a process I engage in every step of the way and devote myself to especially ardently before I send a manuscript off, and that’s the most fun of all.

Revision means exactly what the word says, re-vision, finding a new vision. It means looking at what I have in front of me and asking what more I can bring to it that goes beyond my first conception, asking what else is inside me that hasn’t yet made its way to the page.

And here's the quote that begins her post. I've been smiling all morning over this:

“Getting the first draft finished is like pushing a very dirty peanut across the floor with your nose.”                    —Joyce Carol Oates

You may also be interested in this post and link to VOICE, an interview with Bauer.


Carol Baldwin said...

Enjoyed this post, will click through to the original post. Thanks for sharing. Love the peanut analogy!

Caroline Starr Rose said...

The peanut!! I'll never forget this.