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Saturday, October 05, 2013

How to Revise a Tweet

I recently tweeted something that got several dozen immediate retweets:
When you get to the end of a first draft, it's always a great feeling because you know you're at least 1% of the way there.
Many of the retweets and "amens" were from screenwriters, journalists, and professional wordsmiths.

The tweet came about because I was reading William M. Akers's Your Screenplay Sucks (a fine book, BTW), and I found myself smirking when Akers said, on p. 126, "When you get to the bottom of your first draft, congratulations, you're about 1/10 of the way done!" Smirking because, as any writer knows, "1/10 of the way done" is off by a factor of ten. With a screenplay, especially, you're nowhere near 1/10 of the way done after a first draft.

So yeah, I swiped Akers's line for my tweet, but I rewrote it (Akers won't mind, he's a screenwriter), because frankly it needed work. "Get to the bottom" needed shortening to "get to the end," and the word "congratulations" isn't exactly right; it conveys sarcasm rather than conjuring the false sense of security you get when you've finally written a draft of something.

I thought about replacing  "you're about 1/10 of the way done" with "you're about 1/100 of the way done," but the latter is weak. The word "about" weakens it, plus 1/100 is low-impact/fuzzy. Far better to say 1% (crisp, light, less filling).

When I thought I was done, I had:
When you get to the end of a first draft, it's always a great feeling because you know you're 1% of the way there.
Still not the best wording, because I wanted to maximize the irony of "1%." Remember, the whole point is that you have a tremendous false sense of confidence after finishing a first draft. To bring out the irony a bit more, I decided to say "at least 1%."

Every writer knows that the real writing happens during revision. (As Hemingway famously quipped, every first draft of something is shit.) Turns out, it applies even to tweets.


  1. nice post meh, It reminds me of an equally interesting blog on my reading list .
    keep up the good work meh and also, please visit my blog and drop a comment even if it's a simple "nice post" reply.


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  3. Revising of the tweets is always a great to buy essay for the student because in this way the people way the the people are able to invest for of things in their life. I hope that the people will able to make their life.


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