Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

edit entry

Although the hoopla about the release of the movie The Two Towers makes this coincidence seem like synchronicity, lately I've been reading the boxed set of books which Tolkien's son Christopher put together, which show one numerous rough drafts of The Lord of the Rings. I read the Lord of the Rings several times a year, so this interests me.

It's a fascinating look at how a complexly plotted fantasy novel came together (plus, it provides one with a storehouse of geek trivia, such as "did you know Frodo's original name was 'Bingo'?"). But it confirms one of my deepest, darkest fears about writing fiction. It is not enough to merely write a fun first draft. The devoted writer must then revise and polish. It's like a job, only more work. I had always heard rumours this was true, but the manifold plot gyrations of these Tolkien rough drafts indicate to me that it is much more work to be a novelist than it is to be an attorney.

I should not be surprised, because legal briefs require myriad revisions, though they are easier in some ways than creative writing. For that matter, journal entries require me to hit the "edit entry" key incessantly, even though as a matter of respect for the immediacy of the moment I rarely edit content (or, as seems to be readily apparent, length).

So I guess I will have to do more editing to my novel than merely hitting "spell check". I think I remember why I frequently write bad free verse of twenty lines or less. That requires minor revision, but is not time-consuming.

Maybe the immediacy of my creative writing is what I like. After all, to change slightly the old joke about whom I wish to please, I write to amuse myself. I am a human ouija board, and the pointer keeps spelling out words other than "revise" and "edit".

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