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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Thirty-Three

The Geyser Approach to Revision

How to Keep Your Inspiration Flowing During the Editing Phase

James Scott Bell

In Mexico there’s a popular tourist stop called La Bufadora. It’s billed as the world’s biggest blowhole. The tide rolls into an underwater cave, and pressure blasts a huge geyser to the surface. Then the water subsides until the next surge.

Oohs and ahhs abound.

No two eruptions are alike. Sometimes the geyser is big and splashy, other times it’s more subdued.

The quiet parts are pretty much the same, though, as we wait until the next surge, anxious to see what it’ll be like.

This oceanic performance is a good picture of what the writing life should feel like. Outbursts of creativity—sometimes big, sometimes little, ...

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