Monday, May 24, 2010

Critiquing/Revision time

So, that last post that I posted was definitely not a shining gem. I figured I'd take you along for the thrill ride of a first revision. Now, this is how I would critique any work, and this may not be your style, or a recommended style, but this is how I do. Hope you find it interesting.

It's about to storm outside. The hall smells like warm licorice. It's overwhelming this sentence really describes nothing. The weight of the air feels like a bed sheet. The kind that diffuses light in the morning and my eyelashes brush against it as I blink myself awake not sure if this is a good analogy.

Outside, there is the metallic smell of earth, and the sweet smell of vegetation. Water makes everything bolder, fearless switch with next sentence, also, this needs to be less of a command. The scent of the outdoors gets stronger when it gets wet, as it absorbs, breathes, comes to life. The smell gets into your upper sinuses - a cloud that floats into your brain and hangs there is this an exciting sentence?. Water atoms glide around each other, stirring thoughts what thoughts? why? we need a hint of the thoughts.

I have a headache that sits like an animal at the back of my skull. It sulks there, cold and shuddering where my spine connects with my brain stem conflicted about the use of official terms vs vernacular. I'm re-reading The Secret Garden and imagine this rain on the garden. Plump, warm drops enriching the secret. Whispering on each leaf and then what? The Secret Garden goes nowhere. Perhaps these are the thoughts that are being stirred?. When I breathe the storm-pregnant air, it makes me excited for the coming release release of what? need a hint.. It feels like I've swallowed something cottony but rich MOAR DESCRIPTION PLZ. New paragraph It is as though I have walked to the back of my mouth, and I am looking down the sheer cliff of my throat, straight down into the pit of my stomach, and in it, I see life, that hot and glowing brick I don't know if I buy this description. I am exhilarated by the height, the thought of the drop. I imagine this is how raindrops feel: air rushing by their round faces, the thrilling fall, the eager anticipation to be accepted completely by the earth Good sentence, but must scrap. Not what the narrator is concerned about.

The piece has a lot of description and few crucial mini-subjects/points. They are the stirred thoughts, the headache, the secret garden, and the obvious life-examination. None of these points are linked, and none of them are fully explained. Perhaps the headache that occurred during the writing of this caused that, but now the headache is gone and it's time to cut and figure out what the real message or feeling this piece is supposed to convey. Take out the "stirring thoughts" portion; it's obvious that the narrator is thinking, and there's no reason for that to be in there. Expand on the Secret Garden or take it out completely. It seems as though this might have been just a passing thought that has no relevance to the whole. The main point of the piece seems to be the last paragraph about the exhilaration of life, and how the narrator comes alive with thought and examination just as nature comes alive when it rains. It seems to be a piece about marveling and possibly reveling, and less about relationships; which makes the last sentence incongruous. Main thoughts: cut out a lot of stuff, figure out the real point, because it seems as though the piece was just rambling to figure out the real point/what the narrator is thinking or wants to say, which starts to show itself near the end.

Rule: Revise your stuff. Read Annie Dillard. Then revise your stuff again.

1 comment:

Kwo Ling said...

I thought the sulking animal and round faces of raindrops falling were the strongest images. I agree about the blanket of air; the image is out of place.