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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Welcome to Writing Wednesday. Each Wednesday we’ll look at the craft of writing. But Wednesdays aren’t just for writers. We’ll always bring the subject back to God.

Writing the first draft is agony. Every word has to be gouged from of my brain with a crochet hook and hauled onto the computer screen accompanied by great spasms of moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth. For other writers, the first draft is the fun part; it’s the revision that’s anguish—trying to make the book resemble the brilliant story sparkling inside their heads.

Children’s author Bruce Coville loves the revision process. In fact, he loves it so much, he says his books only get published because they are “snatched from my quivering fingers by heartless editors.”

As writers, we know that the first draft of a book is meant to get it out of our brains and onto a paper where the words are in front of us and ready to be changed. Each writer has a different process for these revisions, sometimes starting at the global level and looking at structure or plot; sometimes starting small by cutting or expanding threads and subplots. Whatever your process and whether you like revising or hate it, it has to be done.  

Mr. Coville shared some of his thoughts about revision at a recent SCBWI conference. 

1.       He cuts out something on every page of text—maybe a word or phrase, maybe the whole page; but he always cuts something.
2.       He looks for passive voice and weakly-written sentences and turns them into strong writing.
3.       He gets rid of as many adjectives and adverbs as he can and relies instead on action verbs.
4.       Then at some point, he stops revising and declares it “good enough.”

God does the same thing with us. In the ongoing story of our lives here on earth, God continues to work on us, cutting out the bad, reworking the good; expanding our faith and increasing our understanding of Him.

Relating God’s work in us to writing,  

1.       During revision, God cuts out something on every page of our lives—the physical and the spiritual, how we think, feel and act in this world and how we think, feel and act in our relationship with Him.
2.       God looks for passivity and weakness in our lives and trains us to replace them with a desire to actively seek Him and develop strength in our reliance on Him.
3.       God seeks to rid us of the extra, unnecessary clutter in our lives and urges us to action for His kingdom.
4.       God keeps revising us until we are called home to spend eternity with Him. He brings us to the point where we are "made acceptable."

Look at Philippians 1:6 from a writerly point of view:  God “began a good work in you (His rough draft) and will carry it on to completion (God’s revisions) until the day of Christ Jesus” (God’s final draft).

We know God as the author of life. Through human hands, God wrote the “greatest story ever told.” And He spoke the universe into existence. God is the ultimate wordsmith.

As writers, we see how our stories grow better and stronger through the revision process we take them through.  God grows us better and stronger too, through the revision process He takes us through. It’s all part of His perfecting the story of our lives.

And the story will be better because of it.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for being the all-time, number 1, best-selling author of life. Thank you for the revision process you are doing in our lives. Please carry on with the revisions until the day of Christ Jesus. Let our lives reflect the story you want the world to know. Amen.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you write? Is the revision process fun or difficult for you? In what ways have you seen God’s hand revising your life and your relationship with Him?

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