Saturday, March 29, 2008

How many rewrites does it take

David J Stitt

When I write I am usually disappointed with my first draft. It is intriguing to me how difficult it is to write what I am really thinking so that another person can clearly understand it. I usually need to do three or four rewrites before it begins to resemble my thoughts. Additionally, a space of time between the rewrites allows a fresh look that shorter intervals cannot accomplish.

At this point, even though the writing seems relatively good, I know that it is still probably not, so I have learned to step outside of myself and look at the text from the point of view of someone who does not know me and, of greater importance, cannot read my mind.

As each revision creates more clarity and flow I begin to wonder why it is that I am unable to write the first draft closer to the final copy - why does my mind require all of those steps to come up with the end product? I think that part of the answer involves a limit to the amount of information my mind can process in one step. I know that there are a few who have the unique gift of being able to write the final copy on the first or second attempt. Such ability is amazing to me!

I have tried to imagine Nephi, Jacob, Mormon, or Moroni carving out the characters on the small or large plates of Nephi. I would love to be able to ask them how many times they rewrote the text before they transferred it to the plates.

By the way, this Blog took seven rewrites and additional polishing. Maybe in 20 years I’ll be able to do it in three.


4 comments:

Tracy Winegar said...

It was great to meet you Saturday. I appreciate your thoughts. I know exactly what you mean, and I too suffer from rewrite syndrome!

Christine Thackeray said...

I thought rewriting was part of writing. The problem with publishing is you can't rewrite it again! That's why I can't wait to start my next book- to do better.

Abel Keogh said...

Three or four rewrites is typical for me too.

D. Collingridge said...

You and I share the same affliction. It is nice to know that there are other writers who are suffering the same way you are suffering ;)