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.

10 thoughts on “Roving Through Revisions”

  1. The more I write, the cleaner my first drafts become. After a few reads, I show it to someone to get feedback for the stuff I can't see. I like the revising phase because at least the manuscript is written… somewhat.

    Good luck with those revisions!

  2. Thanks, Theresa. I like the revision stage as well for the same reasons. Getting it all out on the page in a somewhat organized fashion is the more difficult part. I also agree that my first drafts are becoming cleaner as I write.

    Thanks so much for sharing on my Adventures in Writing blog. Please stop by again.

  3. First of all thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm finally to a point in my life where I think I can write my memoir. I'd be very interested in reading about your process. I have difficulty knowing where to start and often get bogged down just trying to remember details. I'll be following your journey for sure.
    About revision: This is actually my favorite part. Once everything is on paper it's easier to go back and figure out what your really trying to say. I've found I have words I use too often, was and that. Running a find for those words has been a helpful hint that one reader/critiquer suggested.
    Happy revising!

  4. Welcome, Pam. Thank you so much for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog. I will continue to talk about what to keep and what not to keep, etc., as I move forward in my memoir about going to college as a mother of five children, second graders up to a ninth grader.

    Revision is my favorite part too, Pam. I finally got what I feel should go into my memoir. Now I start fine tuning it. "Was" and "That" I hate those two. They are everywhere in my manuscript. Thanks for the tip of using the find function.

    Thanks again, Pam, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog. Please stop by again. I'll be sure to visit your blog often as well.

  5. Thank you, Nas, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog. I find that once a blank page is filled, I’m a happier person. Layering and structuring, that’s what it’s all about. Your authors are very lucky to have your help.

    Thanks again, Nas, for stopping by.


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