Margin of Error


When inspiration strikes I don’t hold back. I write, and I write, and I write… and then I write some more. Even if what I’m writing doesn’t quite make sense, or isn’t entirely cohesive, I still continue to scribble. I have no qualms with scratching out sentences, paragraphs, or even entire chapters. If the content doesn’t sound proper then I restart and use what did not work as a building block for what will come next. I just go with the flow until my stream of thoughts stop, and then I look back at what I’ve written and fill in the blanks. I sharpen the content, correct mistakes, embellish the details, improve the dialogue, and on and on.
Sometimes I’ll write ten pages or more before I revise and clean up the mess of what I thought were fantastic sentences.
Looking back on pages of messy prose I can’t help but think of Ernest Hemingway’s philosophy: “Write drunk, edit sober.” Writing an entire chapter without proofreading or looking back is very much like being in a drunken stupor. But who am I to deny my mind from dancing with the pen? There should be no restraint. I don’t abide by certain structures when I write, except for the structure of the page. I leave margins in my manuscript because I know there will be errors in the prose and my notes, or marginalia if you will, help me keep track of what needs improvement. I take these notes into consideration when I transfer my handwritten content to my digital copy. This is my revision process and it serves me well. A margin of error is necessary and unavoidable. Don’t shy away from faulty prose – the very act of putting your thoughts into writing will benefit your story. There will be mistakes. The important thing is learning from them and molding them into a beneficial component of your project.

About Connor Wilkins

Quickly, quickly... take your seat. Our storyteller is about to begin. Shhhh. Listen... His pipes are fluting emotions of myth and fable, but don't be fooled by fantasia for there are truths hidden within his unworldly tellings. We're drifting now... back in time to a world only he remembers.
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