Revision Advice a la Molly Beer

Here’s a revision exercise from challenger and current Olive B. O’Connor Fellow in Creative Nonfiction Writing at Colgate University Molly Beer:

I am currently revising a book-length work, so I’m devising exercises that make me see the work that I’m too close to from different angles, as a way to trick myself into seeing what’s actually on the page and not what I imagine I wrote there. So what I’ve done this week is cut and paste the first and final 3+ paragraphs of each chapter into a fresh document–an 80,000 word manuscript shrunk to ~8,000 words. Now I’m revising just those sections of each essay, with a focus on how each ending echoes into the beginning it follows and simultaneously funnels into the next beginning.

Got an Exercise? A Tip?  Some Advice?  Please share it: