What makes writing powerful? Many people could have different answers and it’s easy to say the Conflict, Voice, Characters, etc.
After attending RACHELLE CHRISTENSEN‘s presentation on January 23rd the answer is clear–though probably not a common answer–it’s REVISION. Revision is what transforms ideas, plots, characters, emotional moments, and so forth into a work of unity–into art.
Rachelle stated, “Real Writers Revise.” Compelling. True. No one writes perfectly in their first, second, and third drafts–even amongst the greats. It’s been reported Hemingway rewrote the last page of Farewell to Arms 39 times due to just “Getting the words right.”
What was nice about Rachelle’s presentation is that she gives things we should have done to get to our 3rd Draft. For some they might think Rachelle’s 3rd Draft is their 5th or 7th…it’s okay. Either way she goes through and gives additional things to look for and revise beyond the 3rd, 5th or 7th draft. We would love to share them, but she is presenting this topic with other organizations in the future. With her permission we have shared “Real Writers Revise” and this small snippet from her presentation:
Les Standiford said that if you compare scenes to the movies and you break down how much it costs to produce one minute of a movie, which equals one scene, then that one scene will cost upwards of $300,000 dollars to produce. Is your scene worth $300,000?
Prior to Rachelle coming, for some reason I had forgotten one of life’s lessons; “Real Writers Revise” and the cost of each scene, re-anchored this lesson in the world of writing. Indulge me for a moment on her statement:
Before choosing writing as my profession, I remember meeting with a Guest Job/Field Adviser in BioTechnology. We talked nerdy to each other and picked each others’ brains. He was not a college adviser but a real-world professional with a desire to help students find meaningful internships. In the course of our conversation I had tons of ideas, he called them “great ideas,” but just as I thought about riding off into the BioTechnology sunset, dreaming of big paydays, he shot my horse out from under me. He took a breath and said, “Ideas are cheap.” He obviously noticed my stunned eyes, so he followed up with more, “99.9% of the ideas that make it are the end result of a lot work. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ideas are enough to get you somewhere. The truth is lots of people have ideas, but few have the drive and patience to see them through to the level they envisioned them.”
In other words few had drive to keep working–to revise–until they got it right. If you are attending LDStorymakers in May go to Rachelle’s Revising Beyond The 3rd Draft, we highly recommend it. You’ll get a realistic sense of what it takes to make good writing better, but with the tools and tips she gives, it will feel so much easier. We hope she’ll be presenting it many more places.
Thank you Rachelle from Utah Valley Writers!