Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Writing Exercises: Revision

Write a paragraph about anything at all.

Madden is a rude smartaleck. No, wait, that's not fair. On the other hand, maybe it is. But he's more than just a smartaleck. And it's not that he can't behave himself; it's just that he doesn't bother to most of the time. His respect has to be earned -- he doesn't just give it to people for existing. Beyond that, he thinks being a smartaleck is good self-defense, part of protecting your own ego. He makes wisecracks at Kildare because he thinks Kildare isn't tough enough, and needs the training to develop a thicker skin. Maybe Kildare does.

Decide what you want out of the paragraph, and re-write it with that in mind
Hmm. I want it less wordy, and more to the point--explaining why Madden acts the way he does. Come to think of it, I didn't even capture that in the first pass.

It's not that Madden doesn't know what good behavior is; it's that he thinks good behavior equals formality -- and he doesn't want to be formal with his friends. Besides, a little verbal abuse from your friends is healthy: it toughens your mind in a safe setting. Kildare is too thin-skinned, too sheltered. If he can't defend himself from Madden, who loves him, how's he going to fare against his real enemies?

In one sense, this exercise felt very unnatural to me. I'm not a "rough draft/second draft/third draft" sort of writer. More like "write a few words, rethink what I was saying, change them, write a few more sentences, go back to the second one, switch stuff around, write another paragraph, edit it ... " Revision isn't something that happens at the end.

But it is interesting to see an actual "rough draft" that I've written -- something I actually had not gone back to edit at all. Although I think I edited it a bit in my head before I started typing. The revised paragraph does a better job of encapsulating Madden's view, although the tighter prose loses something, I think. I'm a sucker for verbose, conversational writing.

Next exercise is to do another draft paragraph + revision. I'll do that tomorrow, though. Kinda tired now.
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