C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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Writers: On Editing Yourself


RULE #1: Writers must have a product to sell.

RULE#2: Writers must keep submitting their work until someone recognizes their genius.

I repeat these rules to remind myself to put them into practice. I wrote a (long) short story that has bugged me. I did submit this piece to One Story because the length was suitable for them. Unfortunately, they didn’t bite (no hard feelings.) As I reviewed the story, I began to figure out why it wasn’t fully baked yet. I realized I needed to do another revision. 

In editing myself, I hadn’t been as objective as I can be with others. I found some sentence constructions awkward. I reworked the opening paragraph to amp up the mystery and intrigue. I added some here and there where characters needed fleshing out. I cut some sentences down for economy and easier reading.

Editing yourself is difficult (Yes! Even for people who are also editors!) If you aren’t going to hire someone to help you with writing issues, the second-best option is time. Put it in a drawer and give yourself time to fall in love with the next project. That way, when you pull out the manuscript again, it’s kind of like being clear on the faults that plagued your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend.

I have found new places to submit the piece and this time I’m submitting with more confidence, not with the giddy frisson of a drunk at a Vegas craps table.

Today’s book recommendation:

The Artful Edit by Susan Bell.

Filed under: Books, Editors, My fiction, rules of writing, short stories, , , , ,

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