How to Write Fiction: MJ Hyland on Revising and Rewriting

An article in the Guardian caught my attention over the weekend and as always can’t do without sharing it to all my readers. In this article, MJ Hyland writes about the importance of revising and rewriting. In one of the paragraphs, she writes: ‘I’ve never read or written a perfect first draft. Perfect first drafts don’t exist. And yet most writers, at the beginning of their careers, think they must. This intimidating myth of effortless gift persists because successful authors aren’t in the habit of admitting to writing weak drafts and rarely show the public their mistakes.’ She quotes Joseph Heller, ‘Every writer I know has trouble writing.’

Read the rest of the article here.

MJ Hyland teaches creative writing at the University of Manchester and is the author of three novels, How the Light Gets In, shortlisted for the Commonwealth writers’ prize, Carry Me Down, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and, most recently, the Orange prize shortlisted This is How.


4 Responses to How to Write Fiction: MJ Hyland on Revising and Rewriting

  1. Maria Hyland says:


    I’m so glad that you, and so many others, have found my words on editing useful. Not surprisingly, the editing of this 1,000 words took me five hours and more.
    As for my picture – Jesus – it’s ten years old and appalling, I was sick with sickness and I have no idea how you got hold of it. Could you please use a more recent one, if you can, and take this daibolical thing down???

    Yours, Maria x


  2. Lauri says:

    I’ve always known my rough drafts are crap. I usually see them as skeletons since on each round of edits they normally get fatter.


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