Terrible Revision

Inside the Model Train Museum in San Diego (Surprise! Not Europe!)
Inside the Model Train Museum in San Diego (Surprise! Not Europe!)

Last year some time I came across a blog titled Terribleminds, written by a writer named Chuck Wendig. I liked his style, so I’ve since bought a few of his books, and also I follow him on Twitter. Since the election of Donald Trump, Chuck has been almost apoplectic at times, although he’s mellowed down to a menacing growl (comparatively) after his initial reaction. The story I’m going to discuss is that some people write to him and tell him that he should stick to handing out writing advice (which he does do very well.) Naturally, this encouraged a response. It is the evolution of that response that I’m writing about today.

It began as a thread on Twitter. It was a series of disconnected if related impressions, and others were free to chime in as well. (I just looked and it seems to be located here. This guy tweets more than Trump on the campaign trail.) The final product is located over here. ¬†Feel free to refer to the originals, but be warned that they might be upsetting to certain political viewpoints. This is Wednesday, and I don’t do anything but writing on Wednesday, so I will state for the record that I neither endorse nor oppose the views expressed, which remain those of the various authors.

But, as I was saying, The thread on Twitter was sort of like a series of quick notes (heck, at 140 characters, that’s all you get, anyway.) It was a “thread,” in that it sort of hung together and if one read carefully one could extract a coherent theme from it. But, that was all. Nobody’s ever going to win a Nobel prize for a Twitter thread, I’m fairly certain. But, the blog post is a different story. It is coherent, (it has only one author,) it can be followed like a story instead of one of those odd Japanese comic books, and it makes its points clearly and succinctly. What changed?

Revision! That thread, if you will, is a first draft! Like any first draft, it needs some work! But, unlike some first drafts, it got some work. Lots of it. It looks casual, almost flippant, but you can bet Mr. Wendig put some thought and sweat some blood in getting it just right. He’s like that. He saw a story in a Twitter thread (sure, a short one) and he made it real. All by revising that first draft.

No story is done in one draft. My first drafts are so bad that I show them to nobody. Sometimes not even myself. How about yours?