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Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Chapter Fifty-Three, in which Names have been changed

Revision comprises a large chunk of a writer's experience. Often what we begin with is not what we end with. Shakespeare, for example, constantly reworked his plays, to improve them for his audience.

A close associate of your Bibliothecary, a writer we shall call Tiresias, doesn't like to slow down for speed bumps. When he has a character, he needs a name, and he picks one: Penelope. Now as Penelope develops, Tiresias may discover different qualities about her that he didn't know existed in the beginning. One hundred pages later he comes to the conclusion that Penelope would be better named Persephone.

Tiresias is regularly active in an amazing writer's group in which your Bibliothecary had the pleasure of participating several times. I cannot recall how many times he would come to a meeting and begin reading about a character, only to have someone stop him mid-sentence to ask, "Wait--who is Persephone?" And casually Tiresias would say, "Oh, she used to be Penelope, but she changed her name."

Tiresias is not one for writing out a detailed synopsis and outline for a novel before he begins writing. This results in more time needed for revision, but also allows him greater freedom of discovery. One thing he does usually begin with, though, is a concept of where the novel will end. And so the same principle applies to your Bibliothecary's humble blog.

After the revealing Chapter Fifty, your Bibliothecary decided it was time to rename the blog to better reflect what it was all about. After all, did anyone really know where "Beggars of Azure" came from? So, the old blog title will one day find new life in another form, and the new blog title comes directly from Morley, the man who set the standard for appreciation of all things literary.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, please help. This is foreign territory to me.