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.


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, 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!

    • 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. 😉

      • 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.

Leave a Reply to CandyCancel reply

%d bloggers like this: