27 October 2014

Editing

I have been writing a short story for a month.
I am out of practice with short stories.

One of the things I like about short stories is the shortness (both as a writer and a reader). As a writer it's great because there's a manageable number of words. The issue isn't just coming up with the words and writing them down (though of course that's a big part of it). The issue is that you have to really look at the words you've written down and make them good. This is editing and I'm out of practice with that too.

It's only been fairly recently that I've felt like I got better at editing. My Guardian's Guardian is the first story where I felt as though I was deliberately shaping and improving not just the words, sentences, paragraphs, but the whole story.

I am aware of various of my writing flaws; many of them involving grammar, sentence structure and overruse of certain words. It's only recently that I've become aware that editing isn't just about leaping through your story, putting right what you once did wrong. It's about shaping the whole thing.

I feel this is a useful realisation, as I'm going to start editing a novel in the foreseeable future. I've never done that before, it's a daunting prospect. Especially as I'm coming to realise that the draft I was so happy to finish back in July was really more a loosely connected group of scenes, with characters that need fleshing out and a setting that's rather sparse. Still I'm encouraged that I've identified these problems, that's the first step towards fixing them.

For now I have nearly finished editing this story. The part of my brain that does this is feeling fairly knackered, but I think I'm almost done. It's good to be at this point.

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