Monthly Archives: January 2012

When to Stop Revising

My mother’s greatest fear for me as a writer is that I’ll never stop revising.  When beginning writers learn about revision they always ask, “How do you know when to stop?”  My mother, and possibly these students, view revision as a path to perfection—which we know is endless and packed with illusions.  I prefer thinking about revision as child-rearing.  Even if your twenty-something isn’t fully mature, he’s able to interact in the world on his … Continue reading

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Language that Shows

When tweaking language during the final stages of revision, strive for clarity first. Language is meant to communicate. Sound, rhythm, pacing, word choice, sentence structure, punctuation, paragraphing—all stylistic choices—should convey the content rather than call attention to themselves. Take Strunk and White’s advice: “The beginner should approach style warily, realizing that it is an expression of self, and should turn resolutely away from all devices that are popularly believed to indicate style—all mannerisms, tricks, adornments. … Continue reading

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