Re-writing Poetry vs Editing Prose

I am finding this process of editing the ~70k words of content into scenes, then chapters, is very different than re-writing (or righting) poetry. Though I’ve written poetry/lyrics off and on since 8th grade, I’ve never published. I guess that means I don’t really know what I’m doing? Who cares. Writing is cheaper than therapy, and the page also says “go on…”  Sheesh.

Here’s my unqualified, non-expert experience.

When “righting” poetry I’ve gone through 8+ drafts before I give up, or conclude I’m only doing more damage, or decide its the best I can produce at this stage of my development. Or as my piano teacher used to say, “your best decomposition.” Poetry editing is more about painting, and sound, taste, metaphor and rhythm to me. I want to take some emotions and loosely wrap them up in images for readers to set free.

Editing this book seems more about, “why is this paragraph here?”, “how does it help the scene/chapter/book?”, “what the hell are you talking about here?”, “does anyone really care if the protag has nose hairs?”, “did the previous paragraph provide a bridge”, “adverbs? we don’t want no stinking adverbs”, “do I feel like reading the next paragraph, or throwing the book in the compost pile?”

As always. This is juts my writing diary and I want to capture how I am feeling along the route toward finishing this book. Thanks for riding along.

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2 comments
  1. Hey, you know what you’re doing. And I 100% agree. Editing poetry is excruciating, most of the time. And most of the time, I just throw something out because I get the sense early on that I am either a) going to get it right or b) never going to get it.

    Editing prose feels much more like moving the bricks around. Doesn’t it?

    • tyroper said:

      Yes, bricks is a good metaphor. Editing is like placing, shaping and mortaring the bricks. 🙂

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