Monday, January 25, 2010

Seeing Again and Chocolate Bacon

Last week I said that if you typed all your scribbled scraps and pieces of stories, your work would be in a form where revising, editing, and finishing would be easier.


Here’s a great way to think about revision. I came across this at www.namw.org (National Association of Memoir Writers). Revision – means “seeing again.” All writing requires revision, so it is a useful skill to acquire. Take another look at what you have written with an eye toward moving toward a finished story.


Here’s how to do it: Choose one story. Remove it from the notebook. With pencil in hand, read it. Note places you want to expand. Include the senses. Consider adding -- or eliminating -- metaphors. Mark through sentences that meander along like the stream in the picture. Don't let your sentences stray from the story or theme and weaken the focus.

Substitute stronger words for weak ones. A simple example would be to substitute the word ran or jogged or sprinted for walked quickly. Tighten wordiness. A simple way to do this is to look for prepositional phrases – of, for, in. Rewrite concisely. In the margins, make notes for a stronger opening, conclusion or for expanding or going deeper and adding meaningful detail and references to all the senses.


After you have read and marked up the story, place the printed pages by your computer. Open the document on your computer. Transfer the penciled-in changes on your printed copy to the computer copy, including additions, deletions, and rewriting.

When that revision is done, run your computer's grammar check. It will help you find wordiness and give a final polish. For example, in the previous blog post, I wrote, Type every single thing. Grammar Check suggested I change that to Type everything. Keep your own voice and style, but let Grammar Check give you a fresh eye. (Find Grammar Check by clicking on Tools at the top of your screen and then Spelling and Grammar.)

Then you will be ready for a snack. Try the following recipe and let me know what you think.


Recipe

I'm not sure what I think the idea of this recipe; but having learned to cook by making bacon-grease-seasoned green beans, baked beans, gravy, and corn bread – and loving chocolate, I’m thinking – why not chocolate bacon? This recipe is from
Home Cooking
where it is touted as “simple yet so addictive.” The site urges us to “Keep a stockpile . . .” Can anyone say "Busted zipper?"


CRISP BACON APPETIZER

¾ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper or to taste, optional
2 pounds lean, thick-cut bacon

Preheat oven to 350. Place baking racks inside rimmed cookie sheets lined with foil. Whisk together brown sugar, cocoa powder, and chipotle chile pepper until well combined. Pour into a shallow plate. Cut the bacon into thirds crosswise. Press one side of each bacon piece into the brown sugar mixture to coat with a thin layer of the spiced sugar, brushing off any excess. Arrange on racks in prepared baking pans, sugared-side up, close together but not touching.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes until dark brown but not burnt. Keep an eye on the bacon since oven temperatures vary. Let cool completely before serving.

Yield: About 64 pieces.


For more writing tips and resources go to the website www.angelinyourinkwell.com
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2 comments:

Velda Brotherton said...

Oh, my goodness. That chocolate bacon sounds scrumptious. I'm going to try it soon. I'm getting old enough to stop worrying about bacon grease or anything else.
My grandmother always said after she reached the age of 80 that everything was gravy from then on. And she had a lot of gravy. 95 years when she passed. Thanks for the good post on rewrites, too. I like that. One suggestion. Save the original before you go to changing it, that way you may have something totally different the next time you rewrite the same piece.

Julie T. Ewald said...

Thanks for sharing this great technique! It is so important (and difficult) too look at your own work with a fresh and critical eye. Computers can be a good tool to help with self-editing, but you can't let them step on your toes or your style.

The recipe is very interesting, and as a lover of chocolate and bacon, it is something that I might try...if my cholesterol isn't up.