The Art of Revision

“Pick a different word,” she wrote
“This word appears 44 times in this manuscript.
Use your thesaurus.”

So I change pain to anguish or misery
Substitute torment for suffering
Replace anger with outrage
Switch adore for love

Editing is about changing
yet saying the same

____________________

De Jackson is calling for some change dVerse Poets Pubfor the first Quadrille Monday of the year at . With editing on my mind—having just yesterday finished addressing my freelance editor’s comments to my memoir manuscript—I thought this was a perfect Quadrille word. Head on over to dVerse to see what other changes are happening.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.

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50 Responses

  1. Interesting application of the theme. Sometimes I deliberately repeat a word, especially in two adjoining lines, for emphasis, and often in two different contexts. But as a rule, I suppose “variety is the spice of life.” 🙂

  2. Thank you for the chuckle with my morning coffee. I especially love your image choice. Something is afoot, a pied a terre, en pointe here.

  3. An interesting take on the prompt, Linda. I’ve loved my thesaurus since I received it as a Christmas present from my mother when I was at school. Your final lines are so true!

  4. absolutely clever poem here – and definitely a building blocks lesson! well done – and points noted and taken –
    loved the fresh perspective for this quadrille – it crosses over beyond just being a 44 snippet!

  5. Sometimes while reviewing older poetry, I’ll find favorite phrases and words that leap up like mushrooms after a rain.

    • Some of my favorite poems have become pieces of prose in my memoir. One in particular, called A Betrayal of Roses, fit so perfectly in the scene I was writing. But then my editor said I repeated “roses” too many times for prose. Harumph.

  6. ““This word appears 44 times in this manuscript.” — very subtle, love it. I think we all live in Thesaurus.com, it was great to see that as your image.

  7. My favorite editor’s note to me: “It’s bad enough that you end so many sentences with a preposition, but when you ended this sentence with two prepositions, I wanted to bark all over your manuscript.”

    It helps to have a sense of humor and a thick skin if you’re a writer.

    • Thankfully my editor’s critical feedback was balanced with the comments on language she found beautiful and “perfect!” Maybe not a perfect balance, but enough to help me make it through.

      By the way, I can’t wait for you to get to read it. I’m quite happy with how it’s shaping up.

  8. That’s a nifty take on the prompt … sometimes the easy-go-to word doesn’t really capture the raft of options out there .. if you can lay your hand too them!

      • I agree. But in a short poem, unless for effect, repetition seems like laziness. There are certain innocuous words I use again and again… like filler words to flesh out meter…that I also have to cull out.

  9. I might print this out and tag it to my wall. Fantastic use of the prompt by the way. I love that sudden change in the last line of the second stanza. Anger, anguish, torment, then love. It works beautifully.

      • This brought up a memory – a teacher once told me never overuse a word, find another way to say what you mean. Change, Change and change..

        It has stuck with me many years later.

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