Like Magic

It’s back to work this week, and I’m thinking about the dozens of drafts a story goes through before it becomes what it’s supposed to be.  I often hear writers complain about the revision process.  I don’t get it.  For me first drafts, in fact all of the early drafts, are a huge drag.  It’s in revision, and often deep into revision, where the magic finally happens.

A piece about putting my dog to sleep is really about my fear of moving.  An essay about a group of Army Colonels turns into a story about my own misguided preconceptions of the Republican Right and the Liberal Left.  A story about women’s amateur golf tournaments ends up being about sexual discrimination in the workplace.  The list goes on.

One Year Ago Today - Walking through Melbourne, Australia

As for other sorts of magic, this time last year we were 2 weeks in Australia.  We started in Sydney, then rented a car and spent a few days driving down the coast road to Melbourne for the start of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament.  I took this photo on my first walk from the hotel to Melbourne Park and, well, don’t these folks look like they believe in magic?

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5 thoughts on “Like Magic

  1. glasseye

    I’m absolutely with you. I adore revisions – even if I am a bit disorganized about them. I didn’t even know what my first novels were really about until I began to revise.

  2. Downith

    In my next to last revision of a short story, I was able to make a connection that I think makes the story infinitely better. The last revision -that was a pain. That was the one where I had it all printed and ready to go and found a few more typos, missing commas etc

    Ugh.

  3. amyg

    nooooooo

    revisions right now are making batty. i want out. i want the freshness of a brand new story. the zone of sitting and writing without stopping to read the previous word, sentence, paragraph, page.

    i want out of revisions. (but more than that i want to be DONE, so here i go back to the revs for more red marks.)

  4. Teri Post author

    I know what you mean, Amy — maybe I should have just called it the “hard damned work” it is. But I would rather pull my hair out with this than stare at a blank page any day. The blank page is pure hell.

  5. lisahgolden

    It’s when the revision turns into the rewrite that I really question what I’m doing and why?

    Those people look like they believe in magic enough to make it happen.

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