Friday, October 13, 2017

Revealing just enough

One of my favorite parts of revision is balancing what I want to spell out explicitly with what I want the reader to figure out. How big are the bread crumbs I should leave, and how far apart can they be, for the reader to still be able to follow the trail?

Some things I only want to suggest, to hint at, to foreshadow. Some things I want the reader to have the thrill of discovering--or even of deciding. Yet I can't be too vague.

I'm doing such a revision now, deleting repetitions, trimming where I've over-explained, cutting back to make room for the reader. I'm also adding a few words where I realize I haven't been clear, have assumed too much. Seeking, the whole time, a perfect balance.

3 comments:

  1. For me, one of the most satisfying aspects of revision is locating a passage I can delete, knowing the content is already known to the reader. I have a momentary feeling of failure ("How could that have survived through multiple reads?!"), followed by deep satisfaction knowing I've just trimmed some bloated wording. Hooray!

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    Replies
    1. I, too, find deletion satisfying! It's like sanding a board, removing the rough spots for a satiny finish.

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  2. Exactly! Nothing beats a satiny finish.

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