Why I do what I do, illuminated by the words of Robert Olen Butler

Jan 16 2015

The point of revision is to find meaning. You revise to clarify the meaning of something. You understand, I’m doing this terrible artificial thing, to be forgotten instantly, giving you a little analytical summary to show what’s going on here in the moment. The moment is the point…

taken from the Robert Olen Butler‘s From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction

Yes, that’s it exactly. Even though I may labor away doing a “terribly artificial” thing that’s “forgotten instantly”—and is never thought of at all by those who benefit from the end product—it’s important to me because it’s a quest for meaning in every moment of a text. And each discrete moment, at the precise moment it is experienced by a reader, is the most important moment in the life of the work.


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