By Leslie Lindsay
Still working away on that novel of mine…here we are in 2nd draft re-writes. What’s the difference between re-writing and revising? How about editing? Is that all the same? Well, no. At least I don’t *think* so. Here are my own definitions:
- Revise. To my ear, this simply means tweaking the words you already have on paper (or screen). It may mean making a statement or description more clear. It may mean switching the order of the sentences…that’s a “new vision,” or a revise.
- Rewrite. This one sounds harder than revising, and it may be–just depends on where you’re at in the process. Here’s what I think this means…”you’ve got a great concept here, but it sucks like a vacuum. Save the general gist of this piece, but made it much more active by adding in dialogue, subtracting over-zealous amounts of backstory, and removing extra words like ‘had’ and ‘was.’ When I get a submission back with this type of advice, at first I groan and then I have fun because making the scene come alive is really why I love to write.
- Editing. This is really sharply focusing that lense that has become your story. I think of ‘editing’ mostly as a grammatical phase, but it may not be 100% the case. Look for typos, gaps in the story/setting/characterization. Make sure your work is infused with your theme.
To be “good,” I believe we writers have to be judicious about all three steps. And to know when each section needs these tools. Okay, on to the section I have been working on this week. (It’s probably still not ‘done’). [As always, this is original work, it’s fiction. It’s not up for grabs.] Enjoy!
“I heated my Lean Cuisine in the microwave. The hum of the appliance lulled me to sleep as I stood at the counter flipping through the day’s mail. Dinner tonight was Butternut Squash Ravioli with veggies. The box read: Spa Collection. Yeah, the plastic tray really made me feel like I was at a spa. I poured myself a glass of white wine, grabbed the heated meal from the microwave and plopped on the floor of the family room. Alone.
I drink alone, for no one is near.
The girls were bed at last. The digital clock on the DVD display read 8:42 p.m. The day was over and I felt like I had accomplished nothing. I sighed and stabbed a ravioli with my fork.
I flicked on the TV for background noise and found something about a kitchen facelift for one hundred bucks or less HGTV. I watched, mesmerized as the woman tacked fabric remnants to the padded kitchen chairs giving the room a whole new look. My eyes trailed along to my own diaper bag/portfolio wedged in the corner of the room, tucked between a bookcase and a toy bin. I scowled at it. As if that was going to any bit of good.
You must tackle your fears head on.
I mumbled a few choice words before I got up and grabbed that bag. I sure wish her voice would stop taunting me.
I tossed out the dried up wipes stained from Madi’s sticky fingers, my lipstick—cocoa rose, and Kenna’s princess coloring book, leaving just my black leather portfolio. I picked it up—no one understands the heft a portfolio, not even one barely filled—and inhaled the new leather scent. I cracked it open, smoothing my hands over the glossy 8×10’s I had run off at Walgreens. Images of Kenna and Madi’s bedrooms filled the photos; earthy green walls covered in whimsical trees and birdies for Madi and puppy dogs and ladybugs for Kenna. I smiled, lost in the memory of creating those rooms at our old house. I flipped a page. Our guest bedroom came to life with a rich swirly paisley in greens and blues. My favorite colors to work with. Light, airy and relaxing.