revision – it’s not just about cutting words

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We’re all told that the essence of revision is rewriting. Write and then write again. Rewrite. And rewriting means cutting, getting rid of the excess verbage we poured onto the page as a ‘brain dump’. We’re also told that the best way to deal with rewriting our crappy first draft is to adopt a ruthless attitude to our own work.AsWilliam Zinsser, the go-to for many on how to write well, puts it

The newly hatched sentence almost always has something wrong with it. It’s not clear. It’s not logical. It’s verbose. It’s klunky. It’s pretentious. Its boring. It’s full of clutter. It’s full of clichés. It can be read in several different ways. It doesn’t lead out of the previous sentence. It doesn’t… The point is that clear writing is the result of a lot of tinkering. (83-4)

The solution to all this klutz and clutter is serial…

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