As an author I see the wisdom in Hemmingway’s words. But as a rebel, lol rebel, I see the need to tell my story my way and to revise but not rewrite if it will break my story. It is a sharp double sided knife. But should anyone bother to read my book they will see that I tell a pretty dam good story and have characters that you will love, hate, envy, and scorn. Sometimes all within one paragraph.
Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right.
(Ernest Hemingway, “The Art of Fiction,” The Paris Review Interview, 1956) 1
The act of revision is an absolutely necessary part of writing, no matter what kind. Essays, stories, novels, books all require that the author not be satisfied with initial drafts. “Re-vision” means to re-see, or to look at the work from another perspective. This idea is something I try to teach my students in College First Year Writing classes, and it is crucial that I apply the ideas myself to my own work.
When I look back over my writing of the last few years, I can see that…
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