Revise, Organize, Occupy

I overslept this morning; I had some dream about getting a flat on my bicycle. I went to get it fixed (thinking about how I should be like one of those those brightly spandexed men who carry tubes and patching kits with them), and while I was checking out I bought an extra wedding ring (that looked just like my own) in case I lost the original. For some reason that made me think about organization.

I write like a poet: series of ideas and vignettes. And one of my friends recommended that I literally cut and paste my chapter. And so I did. I cut out each paragraph or part of a paragraph and laid them out on a table. I shuffled and stared, read and reread, and slowly I taped them back together into Frankenstein paragraphs. And it worked.

This is how you organize a poetry manuscript. You spread all your poems out on the floor (maybe in clumps, because you know some poems need to be read near each other) and you move, rearrange, collect the poems, and lay them out again. The first draft of my manuscript was laid out on a carpeted borrowed floor in the Midwest. Today, I use Scrivener, and move those little suckers around on the “corkboard” feature.

And let’s not forget that it’s May Day, a celebration of spring, fertility, and worker’s rights. What’s not to love? The Occupy movements are planning events and strikes. So, stop complaining and organize!

How do you revise, organize, and occupy?

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7 responses to “Revise, Organize, Occupy

  1. How fantastic that laying it all out worked.
    I regret not using Scrivener. I think after I’ve made the massive cuts, I’ll be forced to lay it all out on the floor. I look forward to the corkboard feature next time around.
    I thought I’d be moving the chapters around more at this point, but it doesn’t feel right when I do. It feels choppy and nonsensical, a dysfunctional attempt at metafiction.

    • Well, when I say “worked,” I mean it got me through another draft, not that it solved all my problems.

      I transferred to Scrivener halfway through a painfully rough draft. The process itself became a revision. So you still could. Although laying it out on the floor also gives you a different perspective. I’m a fan of going back and forth from the screen to paper.

      • Dear Indy, allow me to clarify. By “fantastic”, I meant that it was great you found something to propel you forward, not that you were done. When you are “done” I expect nothing less than excessive exclamatory statements and shameless giddiness. Now, if in fact this also solves all of your problems, in addition I expect beers to be on you.

      • If I get this published, I’ll probably lose my head and come out as my real self on this blog. And, of course, then the beers will be on me.

        Although consider buying me one or two to help me cope with the fact that my family would then read the damn thing.

      • Indy,
        WHEN that happens, the beverages will be on me.
        I’ve been thinking along those lines about deleting some older posts, some more revealing than my parental units or sister would be comfortable. Such a tough call, to delete or let it stand.

    • There are a ton of features I don’t use. I mostly have it so I can easily reorganize things. After doing a major revision of the poetry manuscript in Word, I was about to lose my mind. It costs 40 bucks (those would be American dollars, love) and I adore it.

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