Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Balancing Resistance and Revision

Jeffrey Skinners essay was not what I had originally expected. The way in which he writes is descriptive and thorough, but he ties the practice of writing to the mental state of the writer. That is, this essay is not merely a series of helpful tips for the writer to consider. Its not a "to do when revising" list as many authors have published in the past, there are books and books claiming to be the universal guide to writing. Skinner seems to asses this problem on a much more personal level. The idea of resistance is not something that I had associated with the process of revision before reading this essay. After reading it I see that the two come hand in hand, and productive revision is in fact a balance between the two. As a writer i feel like my resistance comes out of a combination of insecurity and unmotivated laziness. I do feel a resistance when revisiting my work because often I feel exactly as Skinner put it, that my first drafts are always "promising" and if I go back to it it will gradually get worse. The specific tactics he lists near the end of the essay I found engaging as well. I had never thought to revisit a piece like you were "addressing the poem to a friend you haven't seen in years". This would really hope to bring out the meaning of a poem. Because you would understand a friends point of views its like aquring a concrete outside perspective on your work. I think I might use this in my up-coming revisions :)


  1. Yes. The logic behind revision is grand. I hope that all writers understand that revision is not just a tedious task, but a way to expand and truly understand the characters in you story. We tend to marginalize this bit of work, but believe me, revision is a passionate step in discovering the truth behind what makes your character do the things they do.

    Jason Yelland

  2. I agree that I enjoyed the fact that this piece was far from a "how to" sort of thing. I also found Skinner's idea of "revisiting" a story to be something I never seriously considered.

  3. I hadn't really thought about pairing resistance to revision before either, but I didn't really connect with what Skinner had to say about revision. I agree with his statement that you highlighted about fearing revision will weaken your promising work, but I failed to see the value in Skinner pointing that out to me. I already know that I'm afraid of revision.


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