We Don’t Stop Learning Until We Stop

I am in the process of revising my first novel, Finding the Way, published ten years ago. Since the time I published this first novel, I have written two additional novels and have had my writing reviewed by editors, authors, writing group members, Goodread s and Library Thing members, and other readers. Feedback from those sources and thousands of hours of writing and reviewing and rewriting has affected my writing in a positive way for the most part. To say that I am a better writer today at 86 years than I had been at 76 implies that my ability to learn has not vanished at an advanced age. This is a sample of one that the ability to learn does not evaporate with age as long as you maintain functional mental capabilities.

I find that I am making changes to almost every sentence as I review and revise my writing done ten years ago. I use fewer words to say the same thing. To demonstrate this I show the following example of a change made to a paragraph while revising Finding the Way.

Original paragraph:

Many camps had unique traditions and Flambeau No. Three had one that had been established when the camp opened three years before. No one seemed to know how the tradition started but it was known and observed by all the camp’s lumberjacks. The tradition was that the French Indians would drop the first tree each morning when work started.

 

Revised Paragraph:

Many camps had unique traditions and Flambeau No. Three had one that had been established when the camp opened three years before. The tradition being that the French Indians dropped the first tree when work started each morning.

 

Note that in addition to reducing the number of words in the example, I also eliminated the word “was” used twice. I became aware that I used the word “was” excessively while writing my second novel. “Was” is a lazy verb. Its use may be grammatically correct but needs to be used sparingly.

I am half way through the revision and have reduced the word count from ninety-three thousand words to eighty-nine thousand words. A thousand of those words were a result of eliminating an episode that didn’t move the story forward. The rest of the word reduction resulted from revisions that removed unnecessary words by modifying sentences and paragraphs.

I plan to complete the revisions by the end of the year and have the changes edited and reviewed in time to publish the revised version of Finding the Way in early 2015.

 

Finding the Way top copver

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