Posted by: penpatience | May 3, 2013

My Writing Recipe-Read,Revise,Rewrite

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MAY 2013 Monthly Musing


The more I read, the better I write. Reading is an essential ingredient in the mixing bowl of great writing. Regardless of genre, fiction or non-fiction, words from previously read articles, stories and books are subliminally stored in my brain pantry; they migrate to paper when I write. Since I began my writing endeavors, I’ve realized that my past and present love of reading various authors and a variety of publications has been the catalyst that greatly improves my work. And once a project is written, like many writers, I read it aloud over and over again circling phrases and words that might need revision.

Choosing the right action verb that optimizes the story’s direction is often a difficult task.  The chosen verb might be adequate but is it the best choice? Revising verbs, sentences, correcting tenses, checking spelling, grammar and deleting non-essential words is an important ingredient in the next stage of my story. I let the work rest for a few days, come back to it, read and revise and repeat this cycle numerous times until I’m  satisfied that the revision phase is complete. Now my revised story is ready for the submission oven, or is it?

I’m ready to pop it in, but when I make one last perusal, something stops me. A character flaw I missed grabs my attention, the plot is spread too thin in the baking pan, and I realize even a sweet, gooey frosting won’t save the flavor of the story. I ask myself, can this concoction be saved?

I hate to rewrite. I believed the tale was a strong one when I began putting pen to paper but somewhere in the writing process the plot failed to rise to my expectations. Because I still believed this particular story idea had merit I chucked the entire mess into the shredder and began again.

Like many writers, I do that a lot; my waste basket often overflows with scrunched and discarded paper with half-written paragraphs. However, I recognize the ultimate reward of all my painstaking work of re-reading, editing, revising and rewriting a project is the improved result. Opening a  magazine and reading your published short story is a greater joy than licking chocolate frosting from a mediocre cake.

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