Saturday, July 25, 2015

Revision Happy

My goal was to finish revisions on The Book That Matters Most before I go to Bread Loaf on August 11. I'm happy to report that yesterday I finished my pen to paper ones, which means I put lots of big X's everywhere, changed words, rewrote sentences, groaned a lot, smiled a lot, and reached THE END. Now I'm off to Ireland to teach with the fabulous Suzanne Strempek Shea and Richard Hoffman in Dingle, and when I return I will put those changes into the manuscript on my computer as well as insert some new scenes here and there. Then I hit SEND and go to Bread Loaf.

For the writers out there, this is my ninth revision. And my editor will send still more suggestions and line edits before we are done. Nine! (The Knitting Circle had 35, The Obituary Writer 17)

Nabokov said: "My pencils outlast my erasers."

And in his famous Paris Review interview from 1956, when the reporter asked Hemingway why he had to rewrite the last page of Farewell to Arms 39 times, he replied: "To get the words right."

That same year, in her Paris Review interview, Dorothy Parker said, "I can't write five words but that I change seven."

So here I am, along with all of you, wearing out my erasers; writing five words and changing seven; trying, trying, to get the words right.

Happy Revising!