28 March 2011

Blogging about Revision

I am asking my students to blog about revision, as if it were interesting or important. I wonder if they think it is. I admire people who believe, with Ginsburg, "First thought, best thought," but I've very rarely seen it in a student (though several have tried to adhere to it) and never in myself. For me, the first thought is the beginning. From there, the next thought, and the edit, and another thought, another edit, and so on.

It can be dangerous.

On the other hand (oh yes!) I believe the first concept is the crucial concept. If something is awry with the initial impetus, no edit or revision will turn that dreck to gold. Here, I go with T. E. Lawrence:

All the revision in the world will not save a bad first draft: for the architecture of the thing comes, or fails to come, in the first conception, and revision only affects the detail and ornament, alas!

And you? How do you see it?

1 comment:

Desi said...

I love the "first thought, best thought" idea but the truth is that in between the first thought and the 548,746,516,485 one the first thought changes whether we like it or not. I like to think as the first thought as a hypothesis and as we work on our draft we reveal more data that will ultimately make these drafts better. I guess when you develop an idea usually the end result does not end up being the first thought after all.