Oscar Wilde and the Fun of Revisions

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon, I put it back in again."Oscar Wilde

I've found myself sympathizing a lot with Mr. Wilde this week. One use of the word that went into and out of my query numerous times in the last twenty-four hours, until Mom finally told me upon perusal that I should take it out. "Are you sure I don't need it for clarification?" I said. She was sure. And right. After this past week, I can hardly read my query anymore. The words just don't absorb.

When not checking my query for stray thats, I killed the rest of the week on several paragraphs at the beginning of Chapter 2. At last, over the weekend, I figured out how to make them interesting. Which reminded me just how much I love revisions.

Writers are divided on whether drafting or revising is to be preferred. I took part in a chat last night in which there were many of us on both sides.

Writing a first draft is a risk. You never know for sure if what you're going to come up with will be worth anything at the end. It's an adventure, a thrill.

Writing the second, the third, the fourth, is frustrating. You might get tired of the story, or of being open to other opinions on how the tale should be told, but you take what you already know is worthwhile and make it the best it can be.

I love the latter. Revising gets hard, troublesome, tedious—but it rarely gets old. And now I'm going back to it.


  1. commas...apostrophes...modifiers...they make life interesting!

  2. Hear, hear, Kathy! The Oxford comma is my nemesis. Someday, I'll figure out how that thing works. :)


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