Saturday, November 20, 2010

Revision, How I Loathe You

Really, I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my writing.  I'll spend hours if need be, combing over my prose to seek out and correct every imperfection that can be found.  So I can't say that I truly do loathe revision, I know it's necessary, I'm not one of those writers that thinks they can churn out pure gold from an unfiltered stream of inspired consciousness.  Still, reading over my own words can be painful - it creates self-consciousness - and making major changes to a story's structure can be nerve-wracking.  Maybe I'm just weird.

Workshop went well enough.  My prose was well written - the word artful was tossed out at one point - but there were glaring problems in the foundation of my plot.  Too much going on, not enough made clear, too much seemingly unnecessary back story - these are the problems plaguing my piece.  When the professor told me she had spent a lot of time vigorously re-writing my words, my sentences, I think a small electrical circuit blew inside my brain, undoubtedly causing a near-unnoticed eye-twitch as I smiled and nodded in response.  

I understand that writing classes exist to teach technique, to teach proper story structure - and I know that these are things I still need work on myself - but these things alone cannot make a good writer, nor should a standard set of rules - a formula if you will - be set forth for all writers to follow to a fault.  What makes a writer great - creativity, passion, imagination, artistic word-crafting - these things can hardly be taught, nor should they be, they are skills and traits that must be acquired on one's own or honed through much, much practice.

So I hate that in order to get a good grade for this writing class, I'll have to write the story the way my professor wants it to be written.  She's made it pretty clear what her preferences are and so now all I have to do is adhere to them.  It won't be easy.  As I've said it will require some major structural work on my story.  Like a house in need of renovations I'll have to knock out entire walls, do a great deal of rewiring, and add an entirely new coat of finish to go with the completely reworked layout of the plot - all to insure that the story is "right".