“Books are made in revision.”

by Melissa Dalton
Published on: May 8, 2013
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As I try to get through the revision of my novel’s first draft, I sometimes turn to John Green for a little pick-me-up. He and his brother, Hank, have been exchanging weekly video letters to each other since 2007, gaining lots of popularity and creating quite the archive. Here’s one that I stumbled upon recently that made me feel better after a tough writing day. In case you just want to hear my favorite part, I’ve transcribed it below:

“Books are made in revision. For all three of my novels, I have deleted 90 percent of the first draft. And everything that people like about my books emerges in later drafts…Like if you want to think about it like sculpture, writing a first draft is like digging the clay out of the ground. And the revision is like when you actually use the clay to build something. That you like….See that was a good example of first draft failure.”

— John Green, “NaNoWriMo!!!”

November 2, 2009

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