Re-Envisioning Story Through Revision, a guest post by Shawn K. Stout

There are two kinds of writers—those who enjoy revision, and those who would rather eat a plate of mulch. I am the first kind of writer. (Besides, I’m allergic to mulch). There’s something very satisfying about solving problems, fixing plot points, and improving sentences—reshaping what’s already on the page. Unlike writing a first draft, where it often feels like I’m stuck in a dark cave without a lantern, trying to figure out which way to go.

I realize not everyone feels so endeared to revision. When I do school visits and mention my love for revising, I get a lot of concentrated groans from the kids. I get it. I didn’t always feel this way. For a long time, I was afraid of revision. I’d get a visceral reaction—a sick feeling of dread in my stomach—when an editorial letter from my arrived editor in my inbox. After reading the list of things that needed to be changed in my manuscript, I would oscillate between devastation and indignance.