Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Roving Through Revisions

When it's going well...
Although Hemingway and Anne LaMott may call the first draft by a different name, I feel my synonym works just as well.  I’m plodding through the poopy first draft of my memoir now, chapter by chapter, enlivening scenes here, clarifying details there, and hopefully offering enough insight so that readers can truly see what it was like attending college as a non-traditional student and still raising those five children.

Of course, I could tell the reader my experience in one word: exhausting.  However my fellow memoirists in the writing course I just finished thought I should be a little more specific.  I’m considering each edit of my manuscript, deciding whether or not a cut is in order or simply elucidation.  I’m not opposed to dropping summary in favor of a scene.  My fellow memoirists enjoyed the interaction between my children and me as I struggled through entrance to and classes in my college journey.  I find myself laughing out loud in the library where I sometimes hide to write, and then can’t wait for dinner that night to tell the family what I wrote about that day.  Pretty soon we’re all reliving the experience and laughing out loud.  This is what makes my memoir about college different from other college memoirs.
In writing through the memoir course attempting to get that poopy first draft completed, sometimes I rushed through or summarized important situations to finish a topic or to complete a chapter.  I was always looking ahead or trying to decide what to include and what to leave out.  This first revision allows me to open up scenes where there were none; to slow down the pace and allow the reader to absorb all that was happening.
Every writer revises, from experts to beginners.  What writing glitches do you deal with in revision?  Please share any tips.  Thanks.