Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Example of Revision

Revision that I did just for you!
One of the main lessons that I've been learning as a writer is to be concise. Looking back at some posts on SOI, I've noticed that there are some that could be cut down. I chose this post on dystopian fiction to revise, as an example of how to get the word count down. 

Starting word count: 842 

First we had wizards, then we had vampires, and now the growing fiction tread in fiction for the younger, populace of readers is the dystopian genre. Until this past year I had no idea how to pronounce “dystopian”, nevermind let alone know understand the genre is about. Since then, I’ve been educated. Dystopian fiction is very generally classified as a story that takes place in a hypothetical society, where the living conditions are extremely poor. Often these conditions are due to a corrupted government and are set in a futuristic time, usually post-apocalypse. Like me, you may have thought that this genre has just popped up over the past few years, but in truth it’s been around since the late 1800s. with Some older dystopias that are still popular today are George Orwell’s 1984 (1949) and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1954).

This paragraph mostly needed filler words, that don't have meaning, taken out (eg. just, very, like etc.) and phrases condensed. Always try to say what you want to say in the least amount of words possible.

Needless to say, this genre is still going strong, especially in teen books. for younger readers Ever since the 2008 release of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, the first in the dystopian trilogy, and the release of the movie earlier this year in early 2012, the dystopian genre has returned to mainstream fiction.this genre has taken off. A few prime examples of this are books being published modern dystopian are like Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (2011) and Blood Red Road by Moira Young (2011). The growing number of books in the dystopian genre means the growing The growing number of young people reading the “doom and gloom” fiction, and this is raising some questions among parents. The most common of these questions among parents is whether or not it’s The main question is this: is it healthy for their children to be reading these kinds of dystopian books that often include violence are violent and are centered on
dysfunctional societies

This paragraph took a little bit more work than the first. I changed a reference that dated the piece (eg. "earlier this year") and firmed up my opinion by getting rid of vague terms (eg. "often times" "generally" "commonly" etc.) . I also repeated too much information in the original draft (...raising questions among parents...common of these questions among parents...), so I changed that. Don't treat the reader like an idiot. 

Like most issues, there isn't a straight answer to this question. Dystopian stories have great the potential to produce many   positive   enriching reader experiences effects ,that I can relate to. and those effects are what I’ve personally experienced has been my experience with these types of books . They are cautionary tales, with the power to jolt someone out of their apathy and force them to think about the choices we are making today and how they will determine the future. Reading about a destitute, failing, futuristic society that is clearly an awful place to live and seeing the parallels to our own society culture can have has a warning sobering effect. Our future could be like it is the plot of these books. That realization might even has the power to induce some action from the reader break teens out of apathy. It might just be turning the light off when you one leaves a room, or maybe taking an interest in voting for the coming years, but dystopian novels Although it’s not earth shattering act, reading dystopian books gets the reader one thinking about their future which is an extremely positive effect in my books . This genre starts a cycle of forwarding thinking. Aside from the more intellectual results, current dystopian fiction often features strong heroines which are always nice to see in comparison to the classic damsel in distress, and are books that are just plain exciting to read.

Two main revisions happened in this paragraph, that have been happening all along. 
1. Condensing ideas and sentences into one sentence. 
2. Getting rid of vagueness/weak language (eg. "might even", "can have", "some action" etc.) and repetitive words.

All that being said, there are still those nagging thoughts of the potentially desensitizing violence and the inaccurate portrayals of authority that are often can found in dystopian fiction. Those are the reasons that give parents pause in allowing their children to read regards to this genre and those are two very good reasons  are valid concerns. As much as I see value in dystopian books, This genre is only effective when the reader has grounding is grounded in the fact that the story is fiction and only a hypothetical future; the problem arises when this is forgotten. When we have children reading books like this we get into problems with them taking *is fictional representation of our possible future as the truth of how it currently is The concern here is that young, impressionable, children will read books like The Hunger Games, where the antagonist is a corrupted government, and grow up to be cynical anarchists. This is where parents need to step up and make one of two decisions: either ensure that their child understands the hypothetical aspect of the novel, or hold off on the book until the child is mature enough to reap the benefits of dystopian without confusion. Truly though, However, the main complaint is the not the eschewed worldviews, but the violence. especially between young people in the books.  However I do not find it desensitizing at all, but the opposite. Reading about it makes me more aware of how awful the violence is. The presence of violence is not what will cause problems; the glorification of violence is the real issue. but how the violence is portrayed. I’ve yet to read a dystopian novel (and I’ve read many) that glorifies makes hostile brutalities glamorous violence , or makes me want to be a part of it. Dystopian novels tend to make the reader acutely aware of the pitfalls of violence, the opposite of becoming numb to it. As a teenager, I know that dystopian books are fiction, and I'm no stranger to know that violence exists ?I? Concerns of cynicism and violence can be put to rest when the reader must have has the tools to take away the subtle lessons that make the dystopian, genre what it is. but as a young child it can be ?too much to deal with? overwhelming when they are still relativity unexposed to the world.

This paragraph needed the most work. In the original, the ideas where a bit muddled, so I cleaned up a lot of the sentences. I had to really think about what I wanted to say. This could have been avoided if I had a clear plan of what to say before writing the first draft. I also added the general idea (parents decide if kid ready) from the last paragraph into the paragraph above by adding the sentence "...parents need to step up and make one of two decisions...". Although this meant that a few details (eg. exciting plots) where left out, it made the piece tighter. A good thing to remember is that you don't always have to write all your thoughts on your subject in the piece, as off-topic notes can muddy up the main idea. 


Does this mean that parents should condemn this genre all together? Of course not, but it is important that they work with their children to decide when they are mature enough to handle dystopian. When they are ready for dystopian, parents should help them realise the lessons to be taken away from the book and the misconceptions that may be found. If parents give their children a good foundation in this area they won’t have to fear for their child’s worldview and can sit back and let their children learn to love the written word (and maybe learn a few things at the same time!) through the exciting books that are part of the dystopian genre.

Here is the stroke-free edited version of the piece:


First we had wizards, then we had vampires, and now the growing fiction tread for younger, readers is the dystopian genre. Until this past year I had no idea how to pronounce “dystopian”, nevermind  understand the genre. Since then, I’ve been educated. Dystopian fiction is generally classified as a story that takes place in a hypothetical society, where the living conditions are extremely poor. Often these conditions are due to a corrupted government and are set in a futuristic time, usually post-apocalypse. Like me, you may have thought that this genre has popped up over the past few years, but in truth it’s been around since the late 1800s. Some older dystopias still popular today are George Orwell’s 1984 (1949) and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies (1954).

Needless to say, this genre is still going strong, especially in teen books. Ever since the 2008 release of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, the first in the dystopian trilogy, and the release of the movie in early 2012, the dystopian genre has returned to mainstream fiction. A few examples of  modern dystopian are  Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (2011) and Blood Red Road by Moira Young (2011). The growing number of young people reading the “doom and gloom” fiction, is raising some questions among parents. The main question is this: is it healthy for children to be reading dystopian books that are violent and centered on
dysfunctional societies

Like most issues, there isn't a straight answer to this question. Dystopian stories have the potential to produce enriching reader experiences ,that I can relate to.  Reading about a destitute, failing, futuristic society and seeing the parallels to our own culture has a sobering effect. Our future could be the plot of these books. That realization has the power to break teens out of apathy. It might just be turning the light off when one leaves a room, or maybe taking an interest in voting for the coming years, but dystopian novels gets one thinking about their future. This genre starts a cycle of forwarding thinking.

All that being said, there are still those nagging thoughts of the desensitizing violence and the inaccurate portrayals of authority that can found in dystopian fiction. Those are valid concerns. This genre is only effective when the reader is grounded in the fact that the story is fiction and only a hypothetical future; the problem arises when this is forgotten. The concern here is that young, impressionable, children will read books like The Hunger Games, where the antagonist is a corrupted government, and grow up to be cynical anarchists. This is where parents need to step up and make one of two decisions: either ensure that their child understands the hypothetical aspect of the novel, or hold off on the book until the child is mature enough to reap the benefits of dystopian without confusion. However, the main complaint is the not the eschewed worldviews, but the violence. The presence of violence is not what will cause problems; the glorification of violence is the real issue. I’ve yet to read a dystopian novel (and I’ve read many) that makes hostile brutalities glamorous, or makes me want to be a part of it. Dystopian novels tend to make the reader acutely aware of the pitfalls of violence, the opposite of becoming numb to it. As a teenager, I know that dystopian books are fiction, and I'm no stranger to violence. Concerns of cynicism and violence can be put to rest when the reader has the tools to take away the subtle lessons that make the dystopian, genre what it is.

Final word count: 609


What I'm reading: Partials by Dan Wells
What I'm listening to: Colbie Caillet
What I'm watching: Revolution 

6 comments:

  1. I have a tendency to ramble in my posts (as you might have noticed). the longer I spend on them the shorter they get. I seem to like saying the same thing three different ways. Time is the main problem (and laziness, of course).

    mood

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't find your blog posts too cluttered!

      I do have to agree with your problem; it's mine too. There never seems to be enough time to get a post just how I want it.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. I just love that article, edited or no. ;) It feels brilliantly tight now, and I have to completely agree with the last paragraph. Good thoughts on editing there, too. If in doubt, cut. (Easier said than done, of course, but hey!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! It's so flattering for you to call it "brilliantly tight".

      It was one of those pieces that hung around in the back of my mind, not completely finished until now. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

      Delete
  3. This is something I need to work on, a lot. I'm very bad at knowing what to cut and what needs to stay to make the story understandable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's a problem that lots of writer's deal with. It gets easier with practice:)Good luck!

      Thanks for the comment.

      Delete

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