Revising Leah

July 19, 2008

Lavender-izing My Prose

Filed under: Uncategorized — J.M. Reep @ 3:52 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

At this stage of the revising process, I’m making a lot of word choice adjustments and correcting little mistakes that I encounter. One example occurs near the beginning of chapter 5. In chapter 4, on the first day of school, Leah noticed that most of her classmates wore backpacks. Wanting to fit in, she asks her mother to buy her one too, and a few days later, she shows up to school with one of her own. I write:

Hers was light purple — not necessarily the color she wanted . . .

This isn’t a bad start to the sentence, but what I don’t like is the “light purple”. That just sounds a little too vague to me. If I’m going to describe the color of an object, why not try to be as precise as possible in that description? So I revised the passage to read:

Hers was lavender — not necessarily the color she wanted . . .

This is much better. It’s little details like this which can enrich the description of a character or an object in a story.

Also recently, I noticed an instance of needless repetition in two passages from chapters 4 and 5. In chapter, 4, when I describe Leah’s first impressions about each of her classes on the first day of school, I write this about her phys. ed. class:

She was terrible at sports and, like so many other things in her life, she preferred to stay on the sidelines as a spectator. And in her case, she didn’t think she needed the chance for exercise that the class offered because she walked almost a mile to and from school every day.

But later, in chapter 5, when her phys. ed. class goes outside for a run-walk activity, I write this:

All in all, Leah decided, this activity wasn’t so bad, although it did kind of seem like a waste of time to her since she received the same amount of exercise just walking to and from school every day.

Obviously, what I need to do here is cut one of these passages, but which one? Both work well within their respective contexts. I decided to cut the passage in chapter 5 because if I cut the passage from chapter 4, then the paragraph describing Leah’s first impressions of phys. ed. class, which is already quite a short paragraph, will be even shorter.

So this is the kind of thing that I’m doing as I read through the book once more. It may seem kind of tedious, but I actually enjoy this phase of writing. I find it strangely fulfilling to make these kinds of little corrections and improvements to the book.


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