The First Draft of the Revolution: Emily Short and Liza Daly

According to the author's statement on the Electronic Literature Collection site, this work is an "interactive epistolary novel set in an alternative version of the French Revolution". In this alternate universe, the war is over those high class members of society who process magic and have married within their class in order to keep the magic for themselves, and those lower class citizens who think that magic should be for everyone.

The two main correspondents are Juliette, who has been banished to the country for the summer, and her husband Henri, who has banished his wife because of pressure from his family. In the beginning of the story, it is revealed that both Henri and his wife are using magic paper to deliver instant correspondence to one  another. The plot of the story is unveiled through their letters to one another, and to minor characters as well.

In addition to Henri and Juliette, the story includes or mentions the following characters: Henri's illegitimate son; The Friar; Henri's sister, Alise; Bernadette, the boy's mother; Mother Catherine- Agnes; and Henri's aunt.

The reader interacts with the text by clicking on parts of the text and following along with the provided edit, and also making choices about which edits to allow. By doing so, I began to think a lot about revision.

There seemed to be a few types of revision being made in this text. First, there were practical edits: revision for the purpose of clarifying something or erasing extraneous detail. There were also manipulative edits made in order to coerce, to gain information, or to hide information. Finally, there were manipulative edits. This occurred when revision was needed because the writer wanted to regain control of themselves, or to clam themselves.

In addition to being a compelling read, and a historical fiction (which I love!), I like that this piece made me think about the writing process and about how revision is possible because of the written letters and because these characters were not having a face-to-face conversation. Revision is unique to writing.