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.

About Linda Kruschke

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 to The Art of Revision

  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. Ah the joys of editing, I love your take on the prompt Linda xxx

  3. Nora says:

    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.

  4. kim881 says:

    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!

  5. Frank Hubeny says:

    Good observation about editing.

  6. wildchild47 says:

    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!

  7. Haha. I like this take on the prompt. Well done.

  8. Candy says:

    Oh, YES! You have captured the agony of changing

  9. sanaarizvi says:

    Gorgeously written, Linda!! ❤❤❤

  10. Grace says:

    I like what you did Linda. Great attitude towards life.

  11. Glenn Buttkus says:

    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.

  12. Love how you got your point across – an excellent remodeling!

  13. msjadeli says:

    I love the way you used the prompt.

  14. Beverly Crawford says:

    What a perky little poem, filled with truth … truisms … verity … oh well!

  15. rob kistner says:

    Seems true in human beings as well Linda. Sometimes all the editing in the world only leaves them the same… which might be as it should!

  16. qbit says:

    ““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.

  17. It’s funny, but there’s a shadow underneath it. Love that word exchange stanza. Great take on the prompt.

  18. lillian says:

    Clever take on the prompt!

  19. Larry Who says:

    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.

  20. welshstream says:

    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!

  21. lifelessons says:

    I’m constantly going back to poems I wrote weeks or years ago and finding repeated words..and changing, changing.

    • In poetry, and even in prose, I think repeated words can sometimes be good for emphasis. But there are limits, and I crossed those limits a lot in my memoir manuscript. 😉

      • lifelessons says:

        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.

  22. 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.

  23. V.J. Knutson says:

    Yes it is – a poem everyone us can no doubt relate to.

  24. It’s a fair point though. Especially if the word is ‘smirk’ or ‘chuckle’. I could think of others 🙂

  25. Ha.. love it… no big fan of editing myself… but it has to be done.

  26. whimsygizmo says:

    How perfect! I love your nod to the “44 times.” 😉 A fun Quadrille, Linda.

    • Thanks. I think it was actually 47 times with one word, and “too many for Word to preview” on another. But yes, I chose 44 for a reason. 🙂

      • truedessa says:

        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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