Tag: revision

How George Saunders Revises His Writing

The way I revise is: I read my own text and imagine a little meter in my head, with “P” on one side (“Positive”) and “N” on the other (“Negative”). The game is to read the story the way I would read someone else’s – noting my honest, in-the-moment reactions – and then edit accordingly.

This involves making thousands of what I’ve come to think of as “micro-decisions.” These are instantaneous, intuitive – I just prefer this to that. It’s something like trying to hit a baseball – you wait (you read), you react – not conceptualizing, not thinking about, you know, the Intended Bat Velocity, or any of that – I just have a feeling and react to that feeling, in the form of a cut phrase, or an added word, or an urge to move this whole section, and so on.

And then I do that over and over, for months, sometimes years, until that needle stays up in the “P” zone for the whole length of the text.

First Thohts on Reviision‘ [sic]

George Saunders, short story extraordinaire, has his own newsletter which is, for now, free. Check it out. The guy knows his stuff.