A Month of Revision
by Matthew Salesses
I am amazed that the good and wise Steve Himmer has let me have the run of the place for a month. I am going to mess this house up and only talk about how to clean it. For July, I have decided to play History. I have decided to launch a war on first drafts and erect the memorial to edits. Revision is where we do our most important work as writers, or at least where we can. And yet, for as much as we love and hate it, for as much as we talk about it, we don’t really talk about it. (See: What We Talk About When We Talk About Revision, which I’ve revised right out of this introduction.) I want that to change. I want us to teach revision up front when we teach writing, to demystify it, to make it the first thought rather than all reaction. One downside of workshops—which I love, don’t get me wrong—is that we only address the issues that come up. I think we can offer tips and strategies and experience and frustration from the beginning. I think we can say, this is where we’re going, and this is how we can make sure we get there.
According to his website, “Matthew Salesses is the author of a novella, The Last Repatriate (Nouvella Books), as well as two chapbooks, Our Island of Epidemics (PANK) and We Will Take What We Can Get (Publishing Genius)…He received his MFA from Emerson College…and now serves as Fiction Editor and a columnist for the Good Men Project.” So he must know his shit.
Actually, he does. Everything he writes here is absolutely true. Even if you’ve read it in other forms before.