By Jael Strong
It’s probably best not to get too attached to your writing, especially if you intend to write creatively. Many writers start with a concept (a character, setting, even an ending) and then build the story around that concept, but as they write the story takes on a life of its own. When we go back to do the editing and rewriting, we may find some things that seemed like great ideas at the time needed extricated.
“He Goat on Billy Hill” has been rewritten and revised many times. One element that I was attached to was having the main character, Billy Hill, think in detached, incomplete phrases. In many instances I left this device in this version, but in the original Billy’s thoughts were much more disjointed. Ultimately, leaving too many fragments in the story seemed to disrupt the flow so I removed a great many of them.
As you write a first draft, it’s best not to filter too much. If there is a specific device you want to utilize in a particular story, run with it, but don’t devote yourself to it to the detriment of the story. If upon revision you find the device isn’t working, tone it down or find another avenue for telling the same story.
Regardless of how well you think you will like what you have written, editing, proofreading and rewriting are a must. Every time I revisit a story of mine, I inevitably change something, even if the story has already been published and the rewrite isn’t likely to be seen by any fresh eyes. Key components to rewriting involve critical reading by the author, proofreading for grammatical errors, a backward read (reading sentence from end to beginning), and then a final critical reading.
Rewriting a story can be a painful process, but it is a process that pays off in the end. I always hesitate to start a revision, but in the end I find the process enjoyable. Employing an extra set of eyes can also be a great tool in the revision process. Just be sure the person you choose will be an honest and fair critic.
About the Author
Jael Strong is a writer for TheWriteBloggers, a company dedicated to creating professional blogging content for increased internet visibility.