Monday, June 28, 2010

Revision: The Failure Post

I'm afraid today's going to be a blog about failure. First of all, over the weekend, my hard drive failed on my Mac after a brief skirmish of wits that started the middle of last week. Yes, I am steamed. Yes, it is slowing me down. Yes, my computer is going to Florida to hopefully have its brain picked. Yes, I'm beginning to wonder why I went to a Mac instead of my lifelong PCs as at least when my last hard drive failed, I could just take it out of my computer instead of shipping the whole darn thing. Yes, I'm bitter. Can you tell?

Secondly, I know I promised a revision post where I actually demonstrated my revising in action. And I promised it a long time ago. And I'm here to tell you that I have failed utterly to produce such a thing. The reason why is this: I can't show you. Not because it is classified knowledge guarded closely by an order of monks who perform nightly secrecy rituals involving bats and cheerios. But because I can't demonstrate the global changes I make to a manuscript. I could show you some of my editing, but it would be my line-editing, which happens at the very end, when I skim back over and check out word choice and paragraph order. In other words, the least important and useful part of revision, and the part that I try to really, really deemphasize to unpublished authors.

Then I thought I would possibly just describe changes I made to the original Lament manuscript, as they were very sweeping, but I think that without showing huge chunks of the original text, it wouldn't be effective. One day I shall run a giant writer's workshop called RIPPING THE GUTS OUT OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT: A TWO DAY COURSE and I will wave examples and wield red pens. But, that's really hard to do in a blog post.

So . . . I fail. I'm sorry to have promised something that I couldn't deliver, but the choice was between a 50 page long blog post or no blog post, and I think for everyone's sanity, we'll have to go with the latter. The only thing I could think of to make it up to you guys was to post this video of a lamb.


beth said...

Maggie, I know you had an art blog before you published Lament. Do you have any suggestions for increasing (and by increasing I mean getting any) blog traffic?

Suzanne said...

No worries, I fail at about 12 things per day. And I was really wondering in my mind how you were going write such a post. Also, I had no idea that lambs actually hopped around like that. It looks very chipper. Do they ever just walk?... like, when they're sad?

molly (a dazzling distraction) said...

I suppose that - initially - all pets seemed weird to someone, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen or heard of a pet lamb. All that hopping has to be rough on the floors, but it's pretty cute!
Although the "strangest pet ever" award goes to a former student of mine who had a pet deer. (Her dad actually brought it in for a show-and-tell and it was actually very cool. He was only about 6 weeks old, very tiny, and awfully cute.)

maine character said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn Embers said...

That's okay about the blog post. Just hearing about the process works for me. And I'd go to a workshop held by you if I could. *nods*

Odd about the Mac. I've had my mac laptop for over 5 years now and the only problem has been the casing coming apart. The PC I had was a Dell and the hard drive crashed, losing everything, after two years. Yeah, I won't buy a Dell again but not against all PCs. Love my Mac but replacing can be pricey.

DanaLevy said...

Maggie, as you love a list so much, here is my numbered list of responses to your post:
1) After many decades (ew, that makes me feel old) of using Macs I have never had my hard drive crash. Give them another chance.
2) Thank you for failing at something and sharing said failure, as I (and many other readers I'm sure) was getting an inferiority complex from your awesomeness.
3) LOOOOOVE the lamb. You can get away with a lot when you post a video with a lamb.
4) Bats and Cheerios? Seriously?
5) NPR had a story about converting your car to electric. Check out the link here:
Have a lovely Monday!

maine character said...

About the Mac: Argh. Computer frustration commiseration.

And about the piece on revising, don't feel bad - you already posted better insights on it than most books do.

If anyone does want to read more on revising, there's an eloquent piece on it at Nathan Bransford's site today. No RIPPING THE GUTS OUT or adorable lambs, but still worth a look.

I hope life can only get better said...

Love the lamb!! Don't feel bad, you give us more than most authors would ever dream of. And I to would def go to a work shop! Even if I had to travel, but I am going to VA in August.

tammara said...

I agree, don't feel bad at all. You give more than anyone could possibly expect you to and it's much appreciated. Thank you for the lamb! I've had a crap day and frankly I needed that giggle as much as, if not more than, I needed writing advice. :)

ps: I would LOVE to come to a workshop if you gave one!

Beth said...

I just saw the lamb. I had a blank white spot when I looked at it earlier! That was so cool!...Maggie, I'm with everyone else. Don't feel bad, you gave a lot of really good information on revising. You had some really helpful suggestions I hadn't heard before.

pammalu said...

ha! that is one of my favorite videos! So glad you posted it... it's a cheerful morning watch!

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