Thursday, April 3, 2014

Revision Blues

I haven't written here in a while and I'm sorry, dutiful readers. I will endeavour to be more active, despite the dreaded last month of the semester. Portfolios need to be wrapped up, stories revised, and things handed in.

Claire Messud is visiting my college at the moment and we had a special masterclass with her on revising, using "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver. It was a fascinating exercise, but it brought up a lot of my own anxieties about revision. Here's the thing: I hate revisions, but I love rewriting. I love going back to a story and rewriting it from scratch, using nothing but the barest of outlines. It makes me feel like I'm both starting anew and making progress.

Revision, on the other hand, makes me feel like Theseus in the minotaur's labyrinth. There are a million paths that the story could go down, and although only one of them is right, I have to explore all of them before I know which one is true. Figuring out where the story starts, for example, ties me up in knots. It's paralysing, whether at the computer or on paper. Blank page round two.

How can I possibly make something so beautiful out of these words? How can I commit to what I've written?

I wish I had an answer for this.

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