Finally. A complete short story. An edited complete short story. An edited complete short story that I am happy with.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this point in my writing methods. However, I do now feel I understand the long and, often, painful process of editing. I probably have not explored it in as much depth as I possibly should – let’s save some lessons for another day – but at least I now appreciate the art that is editing.
I followed my ten step programme that I created last week and found it immensely satisfying to progress my writing to such a detailed state. As it is, my current story stands at approximately 75 words below the maximum count for the competition and I don’t feel that a single one is wasted. Every sentence adds to the character of the entire piece and I have rarely stated the underlying motivations or feelings of my protagonist: actions are what describe these now.
I won’t say it is a brilliant piece of literary fiction: but I might go so far as to say it is my most polished short story yet. In fact, I think back to the efforts I submitted to Woman’s Weekly – to be unsurprisingly rejected – and almost cringe because of the amateur nature of the prose. Proof, perhaps, that I have come far in a less than year. (For further proof, see a previous post on editing from 2012.)
It’s interesting, this journey we writers make in self-discovery and improvement. Had I not decided to document such progress in a blog I very well may have written this story off as a mediocre effort and not realised how much my approach had developed in less than a year.
It is likely, too, then that I would also have submitted something that I thought was good to a short story competition, not ever realising why it was not all that good. This time, at least, I can say I have tried my best and worked as well as I know how to have earned the pride of submitting this story to a competition. I may not win, I may not even be remarked upon. However, I do feel that all I currently have went into creating this story to make it just right; and I’m glad I did it, whatever the result.