Michelle Wittle On Cleaning Up the Word Vomit

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There is a ton of advice on how to edit and revise your work. Basically, I feel like every genre dictates how I go about cleaning up my own word vomit.

With poetry, I start looking at verbs first and then changing my watery nouns to concrete, strong nouns. Then it’s time to play with punctuation. After that, I look at the end words and make sure they pack a punch.

Plays…well, I start with the second ACT first. I make sure that ACT is sharp as a tack. Then I start rebuilding the first ACT.

Short stories…. That’s a bit more difficult. It really depends on what the main problem is with the story. I tend to fix the bigger things and then start working on the words and phrasing.

I say this because I’m interested in how others attack their word vomit.

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One thought on “Michelle Wittle On Cleaning Up the Word Vomit

  1. Hmm, this one is hard. I guess I start with grammar, with both short stories and poetry. If it shouldn’t be too polished because of voice, well, then I try to make sure it’s just right for that voice. After that, there are usually things that sort of hit me wrong as I’m reading. Those are the hardest to deal with, because I’ll know the piece isn’t the way I want it, but I won’t know how to fix the problem. Thinking about the piece as I go about my business for a few days, and opening the document to reread here and there, usually helps me think of an edit I like. The weird thing is, those edits always feels spontaneous. I don’t suppose I realized ’til just now that I always come to them the same way.

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