You know, I've been teaching writing for the past 16 years, and one of the many things I've learned in that time is how hard it is to help writing students "get" how much rewriting goes into writing (almost) every single sentence in order to make a story or essay sing (without sounding at all like it's TRYING to sing). [FIRST DRAFT]
You know, in the 16 years that I've been teaching writing, I've discovered that one of toughest things to teach writing students is how friggin' hard it is to write a good sentence and how much rewriting has to happen before every sentence sings. [SECOND DRAFT...much stronger, yah? I'd do yet another draft...and another, but I have to dig out my car. This one you'll have to live with...even though it hurts to walk away from it now.]
Most students hand me a first draft or a second draft, believing it to be their last.
"Uh, no," I tell them again and again. "Not yet."
I won't tell you what they say in response. :)
Over the past week, I had my own "rewrite exercise" to do. I had to write a single letter (a persuasive letter, mind you) about me, and OMG it was excruciating. I rewrote every sentence in that 1.5 page letter at least 1,482 times. I trimmed every extra "and" or "but." I broke up sentences that wanted to run on and on and on (and on). But truly, when all was said and done, I knew exactly why I write and teach writing...because I love when sentences sing.
Just saying, my writer friends. Spend the time on your sentences.
La la la!