Revision Archive

Reconstruction: How the Lyric Essay Rendered One Body After Trauma

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1. I didn’t start writing lyric essays until I found out I had cancer. The melanoma buried in my right cheek was at first missed, and then misdiagnosed in its severity. Clark’s stage IV, they told me. Likely in my lymph nodes, but they wouldn’t know until my third

The Autobiography of the Imagination: Toward a Definition

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The autobiography of the imagination writes itself, one could say. It writes every time we write, every time we dream or daydream. It is its own captain’s log, the transaction and receipt. It reveals the self to make the self into a stranger, twisting the I to wring out

Episodia 1.15: Revising with Sherlock

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I don’t know about you, but when I write my rough drafts, I’m staggering around in the dark. There are plot holes, dropped story lines, and unanswered questions—all the good, gnarly stuff that goes into the early part of the writing process. The key for us writers is—when the

Revising Like Alice(s)

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There has been a flurry of praise for Alices lately—Munro for her much-deserved Nobel, McDermott for her highly-praised new novel Someone—and it has me thinking about why these two authors are having a cultural moment. They write about women, often small domestic lives, the kind of characters and plots

Writing Lessons: Brendan Mathews

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In our Writing Lessons series, writing students—and this month, writing instructors!—will discuss lessons learned, epiphanies about craft, and the challenges of studying and teaching writing. This week, we hear from Brendan Mathews, a writing and literature instructor at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. You can follow him on Twitter @Mathews_With1T. —Andrew

Episodia 1.7: Lost Novels and Love Triangles

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Lately I’ve been thinking about beginnings, endings, and that terribly murky time between a writer completing one project and starting another. After recently finishing a memoir, I’ve been itching to write a novel. I have a strong start to a new one—it’s always thrilling to be at the beginning of something, when all

Weekly Roundup: Revision

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As we look forward to updating the Ploughshares blog for the new year, we’re also looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009.  Our weekly roundups explore the archives and gather past posts around a certain theme to help you jump-start your week.  This

Gatekeepers (Part One), in which I play my flute in a meadow and lament The Death of the Editor

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Editors aren’t what they used to be. I admit that I don’t have much authority to say so: I’m young(ish), my editorial “career” spans a whopping four years, and I didn’t grow up with a quill-pen in the days before simultaneous submissions, hand-delivering my poems in the snow, up-hill

The Black Hole of Revision

Author: | Categories: Writing, Writing Advice 2 Comments
You can potentially revise forever, as there’s always something that can be improved in your story. You could’ve added another dimension to a major or minor character. That word you used in paragraph 14, the third sentence…was that the right word? Or is there another one that is more