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Back to the Drawing Board

Revision means finding out what’s working and what’s not working in a humorous piece. Discovering what’s working is usually the easiest part of the revision process. However, throwing out what’s not working takes great strength. Revising a story or a poem often means admitting that only one or two things in your first draft are actually worth keeping.

After you’ve finished writing a draft, read it through several times, asking the hardest question a writer must face: What is truly good about this piece of writing? The most compelling thing you’ve written might be a character, a descriptive passage, a piece of dialogue, a certain sentence, phrase, or a joke.

Now do the unthinkable. Throw out everything you’ve written, except for that one compelling part of your memoir, and start again from scratch. Go back to the drawing board and build your story upon the solid foundation of one original idea.

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