Friday, January 13, 2012

Revising and Re-reading

Post By Dylan
I will admit that I was drawing a blank when it came to blog topics this week. Well, I was until I read an article on author Kate Elliott’s blog. This blog was about the importance of re-reading and narrative. By the time I was done reading I knew what I was going to blog about: the importance of re-reading and its importance to the revising process.

While Mrs. Elliott’s blog was mostly about human nature and how stories can connect us all, that is not my message. She talked about re-reading stories instead of carrying on with what she calls the “what’s next” feeling (It is common now-a-days, and I am a major offender of this). This is when we do not slow down and re-read those books that gave us so much insight. Instead we carry on to read the next book and get the next thrill.

While I was musing over Mrs. Elliott’s words I realized what a source of inspiration re-reading can be. I reflected on all of the books I’ve read and the different point of view I would bring when I revisited those texts. That inspired me and made me realize that this process could become pivotal to revising,  because when you are re-reading your own writing, you approach it with a different point of view because you are a different person than you were when you initially wrote your story. Just like re-reading one of your favorite novels.

I feel like we are constantly evolving throughout our lives, not only as writers, but also as people. So, when we look back on our old manuscripts, the most common reaction is, “what was I thinking when I wrote that?” Re-reading a book could do the same thing for you, putting the tale in a completely new light that can inspire you, allowing you to see intricate new workings in your story. Embracing this new point of view is important while editing because throughout the course of your second, third and fourth drafts you hope that your story is improving and becoming more in depth while your point of view evolves. Each draft sheds more light in a way you never saw before.

Re-reading a book can really grease the pumps for the revising process, because it now opens your eyes to that new point of view that has been developing. It fine tunes it so you can be better prepared to nit-pick the material in your prior draft.

So, next time you are thinking about the revising process try re-reading a book that inspired you.

Dylan is a writer and a high school sophomore at Erie High School. 

5 comments:

Dean K Miller said...

We are never the same when we re-read a piece we've written, or someone else's words. Therefore our perspective is different, and hopefully new and improved.

I re-read two or three books with regularity, and though I know the story, I learn something new every time.

Revising is an endless task and the results are not always an improvement. But finding a good place for our work to rest for awhile is a great feeling.

Misha Gericke said...

That's so true. I tend not to reread books because I have this knack for remembering plot and characters. Still, maybe I should try it. :-)

Patricia Stoltey said...

Very good points, Dylan, and I think it's one of the reasons we're advised to set our manuscripts aside for a few weeks (or months) before we attempt revisions. I'm sometimes surprised at what I've written (sometimes pleased, sometimes horrified). :)

Jan Cline said...

I like that idea. Ive been trying to think of my re-writes lately as re-creating. Sometimes looking at things differently makes it a happier experience.

Dylan Book Reader said...

Dean: Thank you for your comment and I'm glad we agree.

Misha: I feel the same way with re-reading, I too have that same knack. But I'm willing to try and see if it can help me with my rewrites coming up soon.

Patricia: Thank you very much, Patricia. And yes I've heard that advice before so I'm both nervous and excited to start my first major project in rewriting.

Jan: Thank you for the comment and I completely agree. Hopefully gaining that new perspective will break things down to size for revising and make the task seem less daunting.

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